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Moeraki Boulders, Dunedin Overview

The Moeraki Boulders are a range of boulders stretching from Moeraki to Hampden. These boulders are located on Koekohe Beach, North Otago. Created by giants, according to the prevailing local legend, these boulders are not only one of the most fascinating geological phenomenons in New Zealand, but also on Earth.

Set up on the flat surface of Koekohe Beach, they are around 1-2 metres in diameter and weigh many tonnes. There are around 50 of them and what’s brilliant about them is their geometrical perfection: they are perfectly round. These boulders are said to have been a result of concretion which is the precipitation of calcite in mudstone over millions of years and are a protected reserve on State Highway 1.

However, the future for these boulders does not seem too fortunate. Due to erosion, they are gradually falling open and coming loose on the shore of the beaches. Nevertheless, it is always good to capture this natural site when driving through the Otago Coast 

Photos of Moeraki Boulders

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What's Around

  • Food: There are two cafes on the beach called the Moeraki Boulders cafe and Fleurs Cafe that offers waterfront views and good seafood.  
  • Accommodation: There is no accommodation on the Koekohe beach. However, there are a few good hotels in close proximity to the boulders at Moeraki and Hampden which includes a holiday park only 5-10 minutes away from the attraction. Other than that, Dunedin is an hour away and Oamaru is only 30 minutes away from the beach. 
  • Activities: The entire track is around 300 metres long and visitors can walk, picnic or tramp at this location. Water sports are also available on Koekohe beach. 

Best Time to Visit

The Moeraki Boulders can be accessed anytime during the day and throughout the year on State Highway 1 but it is best to visit this attraction during sunrise when there is low tide and mid tide in order to capture the best views of the boulders. 

History

These boulders date back 60 million years ago when there were sediments settling on the surface of the sea that included small particles of shells and plants. Slowly, calcite started to form, very similar to pearl formation. This caused the spherical nodules that had hard outer layers while the inner layers dehydrated, leading to cracks that spread to the outer rims of the boulders.

The gradual erosion and upliftment of the landmass in New Zealand led to the boulders emerging onto the surface of the sea. The entire process took over 4-6 million years. Today, the Moeraki boulders are considered one of the most precious natural phenomena in the world. 

Tips

  • You can jump over the boulders and even climb them. However, be careful especially when the waves are near because they tend to become slippery. 
  • The best time for photography is early morning and late afternoons. 
  • The best scene at the boulders is when there is a storm rolling in and the waves hit the boulders. 
  • There is free access to the Moeraki boulders 
  • There is public parking available. 
  • Visitors can donate to the maintenance of the boulders
  • Cloudy winter days call for dramatic, almost apocalyptic views. 

How To Reach Moeraki Boulders

  • Moeraki Boulders are located between Hampden and Moeraki in New Zealand.
  • The closest airport to this attraction is Dunedin International Airport (DUD) which is 104 kilometres away and it would take around an hour and a half to reach Moeraki Boulders from this airport.
  • Visitors can take taxis and cabs from the airport or from Hampden or Moeraki.
  • However, buses also go from different locations in South Island to Moeraki Boulders. 
  • The attraction is around 40 kilometres (around a 30-minute drive) on State Highway 1 to Hampden from South of Oamaru.
  • If one’s coming from the South, it is an hour drive (75 kilometres) up State Highway 1. From the West, the Moeraki Boulders are 209 kilometres from Cromwell (2 and a half hours), and 185 kilometres (a little over 2 hours) from Alexandra. 

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