‘The Mysterious Moeraki Boulders’
The Moeraki Boulders are very huge spherical stones that are scattered over the sandy beaches,they dont look so ordinary but looks like round boulders that have been shaped by rivers and pounding seas.These boulders are actually concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs that back the beach.Many of the people think in different ways about the origin of these boulders.Out of those few assumptions one of them is that they are fossil dinosaurs’ eggs.The other belief is that the version of aliens’ landing, who laid the eggs but couldn’t sustain the severe Earth climate,which is a popular assumption too. According to the legends of Polynesian people Maori,these boulders are baskets with food and pumpkins that are washed away by the waters and seas to the shore from the wreck of a large sailing canoe.
About 60 million years ago,the concretions know as the Moeraki boulders started forming on the ocean floor.Centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders.This Moeraki Boulders has a long history of Maori occupation,which can be visualized to our eyes in the town by the Kotahitanga Maori Church and a pa site nearby.To the South of Moeraki we can find a town of Palmerston,where we can see an historical scenic route to Central Otago.These Moeraki Boulders are as big as 3 metres in diameter and has a weight several tones,of them the small boulders can resemble an over inflated football.The tourist signs say they took four million years to form.
Location and approach:
A little fishing village Moeraki has become famous for a geological wonder for its natural scenic boulders.These boulders are all large balls and a fascinating tourist attraction about 70 km north of Dunedin.The Moeraki Boulders are situated on Koekohe Beach at a place named Kumara, midway between Hampden and Moeraki townships in North Otago.To reach these Moeraki boulders we have only a small one-way side road,1 mile north along the main road from Hillgrove railway station.
The spherical stones known as Boulders that line New Zealand’s Moeraki Beach reach up to seven feet in diameter and have been compared to everything from the marbles of giants to colossal dinosaur eggs to half-submerged prehistoric turtles, ready to stand up and shake off the sand at any moment.They are actually concretions,masses of compacted sediment formed below ground more than 50 million years ago.As the sand that surrounds them erodes,they seem to rise to the surface as if pushed up from the center of the earth.These type of stones are also found on Bowling Ball Beach in Mendocino, CA.These are formed by the mixture of rock which was originally mud and clay,The coastal elements are slowly eroding the boulders into fascinating shapes and uncovering new ones.Underneath are the boulders that the mud stone,these are originally wet in nature.Most of these boulders are spherical in nature and only few of them are in different shapes although previously they are spherical in nature because of the eroding of the coast the shape of them has changed for few boulders.
The boulders are grey-coloured septarian concretions, which have been eroded out by wave action from the cliffs of soft, black mud stone that back the beach.In some places,we can find partially exposed concretions.The largest concretions of these boulders are traversed by cracks,filled by a yellow calcite.For few of the concretions the upper part is worn away and only a shell remains,looking like discarded segments of orange peel.
There is a nice walk from Moeraki village to the boulders, it is about an hour return walking.You begin by following a good track from the village and then you come out onto the beach.There are baby boulders on the beach and some you can see up in the clay cliff along the way and some that have been washed out by the sea.The large group,of boulders are well worth the trip to see nothing else like them.The park down at the beach access,is the sign that will give you the history and myth of the boulders before a short walk to the petrified wood and spherical boulders.Coming from this way you get the wide shot of all the boulders before seeing them up close.Really fascinating and worth a stop on your drive to these boulders.
Aside from this wonderful Moeraki boulders we can fin another attraction along the beach from the famous boulders to the lesser known Moeraki lighthouse.Located at the end of Lighthouse Road in Moeraki,the lighthouse is of 1876 and is still in use.This requires some navigation onto gravel roads.Navigation is also an issue when walking down to the lighthouse and separate point. There is a good path and then it moves onto grass beware of the holes.All it is worth for the sightings of penguins and frolicking seals.Do not approach the penguins as a guide will be swift to ensure that one stays the statutory 15 metres away.
Visiting around late afternoon or evening during nesting season ie., during December to February we can see these fabulous penguins.This charming seaside town also has a yellow-eyed penguin sanctuary, a seal colony, Hectors dolphins that can be seen from the shore and a vibrant fishing community.