Quirky Moeraki and Ōamaru

NZ is never predictable. Leaving the wild-lands mid-March we anticipated scenery of a more familiar nature on the “lower east side” of South Island. NOT SO FAST…we found “mysterious” Moeraki boulders; an unexpected vibe in quirky Oamaru; and surprising formations at the Clay Cliffs – “Hey! Turn here!”

Moeraki Boulders, 60-Million-Years-Old

Unless you believe they were deposited by aliens, the large, spherical boulders scattered along the beach are curious, but not mysterious. Broken boulders reveal calcite crystals at the core. I’m not sure that “they have to be seen to be believed”, per the guidebooks, but they were unexpected and unusual.

Quirky Ōamaru

There’s a great vibe here! We under-researched and underestimated Ōamaru. Its strong Victorian heritage and architecture alongside Steampunk inventions and OMG Pacific Ocean views was captivating. The combination of eccentric with sophistication hinted of a quirky personality. We said over and over “there’s something about this town…”.

Steampunk HQ – Museum and Studio

Classic Victorian Architecture

I kick myself for not taking pictures. There were funky photo ops all over, but I was too agog (or photo weary) to snap. These on-line photos from an offbeat annual Victorian festival (which we did not see) are a sample of “fun things to do” in Ōamaru (NewZealand.com). I would go back.

Blue Penguin Colony

A significant attraction are the Little Blue Penguins. Each evening a raft of penguins noisily squawk and flap towards Bushy Beach. We watched over 127 (or was it 160?) little guys POP out of the sea, climb a steep bank and waddle to their nests. Wondrous!

The Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony is dedicated to research, protection, and long-term conservation of this endangered penguin.

Clay Cliffs – Otherwordly

Turning inland from Ōamaru, the ocean behind us and the road flat. Suddenly a tiny sign and a subsequent sharp (and fast) left turn led to a “Utah-like ” canyon, hidden on Prohibition Road. The Clay Cliffs – easy to miss if not for the attention of our somewhat bored driver. The pinnacles and narrow ravines were carved by glacier flow over a million years ago.

Spectacular as they were, the cliffs were just a warm-up for the extremely impressive mountains ahead – the famous Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Next Post: Unforgettable Aoraki/Mt Cook, Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo

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10 thoughts on “Quirky Moeraki and Ōamaru

  1. Great shots…Those boulders were ahhhhmazing! NZ can certainly swallow you up with the diversity of landscapes in a relatively small geographic area! xo

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    1. Every day I am blown away. If not the scenery, then the people!

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  2. Superb! The Victorian festival in Oamaru looks and sounds interesting. A reason to go back?

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    1. Yes. Let’s go back. I think I missed out on things in Oamaru. I am as hoping you have some photos that show it’s charm to post on your blog. Then I will go back and post a link!

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  3. You saw 160 penguins come out of the ocean?! WOW. And Oamaru. The color of the ocean. A magical place. And the round boulders and pointy clay cliffs. I’m enchanted xo

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    1. I am so confused on the penguin count….one. One said 127, one note said 187. So I picked near the mid point! We are so lucky and grateful!

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  4. Love the photos! Thanks for sharing. Looks awesome guys! Greetings from London.

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  5. Dea Marlene and Steve, what a wonderful post 🙂 I’m truly interested in New Zealand and it was so beautiful to read your impressions and see your photos dedicated to this country 🙂 stay safe and greetings from Portugal, PedroL

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    1. My goodness, thank you! NZ is magical. And so is Portugal!

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      1. I can imagine, I would love to experience that 🙂 have a great day, PedroL

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