The charming fishing village of Moeraki was established on Boxing Day (26 December) 1836, and just recently celebrated its 175th anniversary. Located about 35km south of Oamaru, Moeraki is today a popular holiday destination for New Zealanders, who come to the village to enjoy the views of the ocean, the abundant wildlife and the natural scenery of the area.
Among Moeraki’s attractions are the iconic Moeraki Boulders, 60-million year-old spherical rocks that line the beach just north of the village. There are numerous theories as to their provenance (a popular theory–not supported by science–is that they were dropped by aliens), but regardless of how they came to be there they are today a very popular stop for visitors, many of whom enjoy photographing themselves standing on, leaning against, or otherwise interacting with them.
Moeraki is also home to a sizable colony of Yellow-Eyed Penguins, the rarest penguin in the world. Unlike Oamaru’s Blue Penguins, the Yellow-Eyed penguin is a solitary creature, swimming and returning to shore for the night alone rather than in packs. The Moeraki colony of penguins is one of the best places to see these beautiful birds, and depending on the time of year you may be treated to the sight of juvenile penguins, still sporting downy brown feathers rather than the familiar ‘tuxedo’ colouring of adulthood. You’re also likely to see NZ fur seals, shags and plenty of seagulls when you visit, and you may even encounter the occasional Blue Penguin, too.
After a visit to Moeraki’s natural scenery, there’s nothing better than to treat yourself to a meal at Fleur’s Place, one of NZ’s most famous restaurants, put on the international map by Britain’s Rick Stein, who came to review the restaurant soon after its opening in 2006 and found it to be everything he had hoped for and more. Fleur Sullivan uses the area’s abundant fish and seafood in classic preparations, and serving it in what appears to be a fisherman’s shack on the jetty (though in fact it was purpose built and only looks to be ramshackle).
So make sure when you come to Oamaru to save time to see Moeraki!