Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders


98 Rankers Reviews

77 Face-to-Face

20 Oamaru

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Moeraki Boulders at sunrise
Tide swallowing the boulders
Birds eye view


600 m return | 10 minutes return

Taniwha eggs? Alien shells?

The boulders at Moeraki on the North Otago coast have speculated over for hundreds of years.

Geological curiosities. The largest is over 2.2m in diameter and weighs more than 7 tonnes. There are more than 50 strewn like dinosaur eggs along the beach.


The boulders are best exposed 3 hours either side of low tide. If a big swell is running then you may not be able to get to the boulders at any tide.


Moeraki Boulders are well signposted from SH1. There is a cafe and toilets at the parking area.


Descend to the beach and head left. Explore the boulders and join the antics.

A short loop track from the cafe leads up to a viewing platform above the boulders.


Geologists term them septarian concretions. Around 60 million years ago, muddy sediments accumulated on the sea floor with plant, bone and shell fragments embedded. Sea creatures such as marine worms, molluscs and urchins mixed these sediment layers, homogenising them through their burrowing. As the wet sediments were buried more deeply, chemical reactions occurred and calcite crystallised around the organic nuclei. When this process occurred at an even rate on all sides, spherical nodules formed. For a small concretion, less than 1mm across the process may have taken around 150,000 years. Try 4 million years for one of the biggies!

As the outer material became solid and the inner material dried, shrinkage cracks propagated outwards from core to rim. These cracks were then filled with saturated calcite solution and yellow and brown calcite crystals were precipitated.

Over the last few million years, this layer of mudstone has been uplifted to the present day sea level and the gnawing of the waves on the soft cliffs is exposing the boulders. There are many more buried and many more to be revealed in the cliffs.

Polynesian History

The South Island tribe Ngati Tahu explain their formation through a story. When the great canoe Arai Te Uru was wrecked on the coast near Matakaea (Shag Point) the cargo was thrown overboard. The water gourds (Te Kai Hinaki) became the Moeraki Boulders, while the seed kumara became the more irregularly shaped rocks to the south. Several other features of the area are related to this wreck, including the hull becoming a reef near Shag Point and many local hills named after crew members.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandCoastal OtagoOamaru


  • Walking
  • Scenic Attractions
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 91.

Mike Fricker's avatar

Mike Fricker

Ranking: 10/10

28Oct18. Not enough there to spend the day but we were delighted by the boulders. They are in various states of preservation. Some lie in pieces, some are well on the way and some are whole. There is one just about out of the cliff and one just showing through.
We went through the tourist area and paid $2 each for access. Didn’t begrudge that at all. There is also a cafe and toilets.
There is a free Moeraki Boulders public parking just off the highway. Go down there if $2 is too much.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Sebasitian's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

Odd looking boulders embedded in sand, very crowded but cool visit anyway.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Jerome Cluzel's avatar

Jerome Cluzel


Ranking: 7/10

Good spot to see the phenomenon of Moeraki Boulders. Just a few minutes enough to get some pictures, not bothered to stay the day.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Franziska Liebe's avatar

Franziska Liebe


Ranking: 10/10

Interesting beach walk to the boulders (amazing big round rocks). On the other side of the peninsula walk to the seal colony. So amazed by the seals and penguins, awesome experience!

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

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Sophie's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

$2 donation. Too many people there - come early or late. Sometimes you can see dolphins there, think about the tides!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Ulrich K's avatar

Ulrich K


Ranking: 5/10

Pretty hyped spot. Was not the best weather when we arrived (mid September) but I can't imagine it to be that good with nice weather. The Boulders itself are quite interesting but only for 5-10 minutes. Maybe go there during a sunset.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Jean Charlies Coudray's avatar

Jean Charlies Coudray


Ranking: 8/10

Surprising rocks, easy to get there, kids loved to play there.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Maarten's avatar



Ranking: 5/10

Not exciting and lots of tourists.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Alvaro Rodriguez's avatar

Alvaro Rodriguez


Ranking: 10/10

An awesome beach with strange boulders where you can take great photos.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Laura Munguira Vadillo's avatar

Laura Munguira Vadillo


Ranking: 9/10

Great stones that look like they belong to another period of time.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Benedikt Maus's avatar

Benedikt Maus


Ranking: 7/10

Some nice round rocks in the sea, guess it is even more impressive at sunset and sunrise.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Nele Foerske's avatar

Nele Foerske


Ranking: 8/10

A nice walk along the beach at low tide. The weather was so nice and until you reached the Boulders we were alone at the beach. The Boulders were good to visit, but a bit crowded.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Gavin Moffatt's avatar

Gavin Moffatt


Ranking: 7/10

An early whaling station settlement (1836) but the surprise is the large round boulder half buried in the sand, some cracked apart being washed by the incoming and outgoing tide. How they came to be here is a good question.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016