When we were kids, Dad always seemed to know where the wild things were. Everywhere we went he had a great story.
One of his best was the Moeraki space eggs story. That lasted 3 holidays.
Moeraki hadn’t really been discovered then. Things were pretty basic. No restaurant, no gift shop and the odd boulder still got knicked as a garden ornament.
Reaching them was more ‘random’ too - no track through the native bush planted since 1982.
But when you did hit the beach, there they were, those mysterious boulders, smooth and round, half buried in the sand, looking like huge water containers wrapped in flax - that’s the Maori legend - or eggs laid by weird space aliens in a big silver UFO - that was Dad’s story.
And we believed him. He sucked us in, hook, line and saucer. They aren’t eggs, of course. They’re ‘concretions’, giant stone pearls formed in the mudstone seabed.
There’s more than 40 boulders on Moeraki beach, plus some broken ones, and they all started as a wrap around some foreign object, shell or wood or bone.
Then slowly, over 4 million years, each boulder took shape. If the seabed hadn’t been thrust up about 15 million years ago we wouldn’t even know they existed.
Luckily, we do. If you think you’ll have some spare time in the next 500,000 years, then be sure you see them - who knows what stories you’ll create for your kids!
MOERAKI BOULDERS: State Highway 1, south of Oamaru (follow the signs from Hampden)
More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street