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Marine Places

Moeraki Beach

The beach north of Moeraki on New Zealand’s South Island is strewn with large, near-spherical boulders. Their origin is unclear, but the most widely accepted scientific view is that they are mineral concretions that formed 60 million years ago in mudstones—layers of softer sedimentary rock on the sea floor. These mudstones were later uplifted and now form a cliff at the back of the beach. There, gradual erosion exposes and releases the boulders, which eventually roll down onto the beach.

Moeraki Beachzoom image
  • Pacific Ocean Southwest
  • Type Embayed beach
  • Composition Dark sand and large boulders
  • Length 5 miles (8 km)
  • Location location Northeast of Dunedin, southeastern New Zealand
Moeraki Beach habitat mapzoom image