Oamaru / North Otago

The Best Things to Do in Moeraki

Moeraki, a sleepy seaside village an hour’s from Dunedin, is best known for its surreal set of beach boulders. The Moeraki Boulders are a couple of kilometres from the village and attract heaps of tourists, and most of them skip the village and surrounding attractions. There are a few really cool things to do in Moeraki – it’s definitely a place you should spend a couple of hours in.

The Best Things to Do in Moeraki

Visit the Moeraki Boulders

This group of giant spherical boulders lying on Koekohe Beach is one of New Zealand’s most unique natural wonders. There are a couple of dozen boulders in various sizes and states of ruin. Some are split open and some are almost perfectly round. They look like giant bowling balls and are a lot of fun to climb on (we even ate our lunch on one). When the tide is high some of the boulders are partially or fully submerged, meaning you’ll have to risk getting wet if you want to climb on them. The best photos of the Moeraki Boulders are generally taken at sunrise – we’ve always been too lazy to go there that early but it’s in the pipeline (when summer returns).

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- the Moeraki Boulders

Walk up to the Moeraki Viewpoint

One of my favourite things to do in Moeraki is the hike up to the viewpoint above the village. The Moeraki Millennium Track runs right along the coast but the best section is the hill climb right at the end of the village (just past Fluer’s Place). It’s an easy climb and the views from up there are awesome. You might also be lucky enough to meet New Zealand’s coolest sheep…

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- a viewpoint above Moeraki Village

Play with New Zealand’s coolest sheep

I was heading back down the hill after visiting the viewpoint when I saw a huge sheep walking on the track in front of me. It came up to me and starting lightly head butting me. I’ve never seen a sheep do this so I was a bit scared – I thought it might be the start of a Planet of the Apes style sheep uprising. I briskly walked away from him and down the hill but he started chasing me. He followed me all the way down the hill, where Gia was waiting, and starting lightly head butting her too. We were both a little worried that he might trying to attack us but soon realised that he just wanted to play. He walked with us side by side all the way back to the car park and we were quite sad to have to leave him behind.

I have no idea if he usually hangs out there, so you may not be able to repeat this experience, but we had a lot of fun hanging out with him. There are a lot of sheep in New Zealand (over 27  million in fact) but this has got to be one of the coolest, friendliest and most interesting looking one out there.

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- walking with a sheepThe best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- playing with sheep

Walk along the beach

The beach in Moeraki village is really nice – no wonder there are so many accommodation options nearby. It’s popular with locals in the summer but it gets very quiet during the colder months. We had the beach all to ourselves and enjoyed walking along its golden sands. There are some rocks at the end of the beach that are fun to climb on (the material is similar to nearby Moeraki Boulders). There are also a few piers lined up along the beach, which always make for fun places to walk / photograph.

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- walking along the beachThe best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- photographing piers

Search for seals and penguins at Katiki Point Lighthouse

Katiki Point Lighthouse was built in 1878 and has watched over this rugged stretch of coastline ever since. It’s currently blocked off so you can’t walk right up to it (or get good photos of it). The real highlight of this place is the wildlife – it’s a breeding ground for both New Zealand fur seals and yellow eyed penguins. Unfortunately we didn’t see any penguins, but we did have one of the cutest wildlife experiences you could ever ask for. We saw a gang of about a dozen fur seal pups playing on the grass right in front of us. We kept a safe distance but they kept getting closer – they seemed as curious about us as we were about them. They eventually shuffled past us and over to the other side of the peninsula, where some older seals were sleeping.

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- Katiki Point LighthouseThe best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- Spotting Fur Seal PupsThe best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- view from Katiki Point Lighthouse

Visit the Tiny Church

The small church in Moeraki dates back to the late 1862 and is worth stopping off at. It was locked though, so there’s not really much more I can say about it, but it’s a cool looking church.

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- The tiny blue church

Go fishing

One of the most popular things to do in Moeraki is to go on a fishing expedition. There is abundance of seafood in these parts and it sounds like a fun day out. I’ve never done it but hopefully that’ll change one day!

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- fishing trips

Drive over to Kaika

This tiny village over the hill from Moeraki had a pretty strange vibe to it. We drove through the village and couldn’t find anywhere to park. It was completely deserted and it seemed like there was a walk in the area but we couldn’t see any signs / a car park for it. It didn’t seem like the most welcoming place so we quickly left – it was a nice drive though.

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- driving to Kaika

Eat Lunch

There are two restaurants in Moeraki – Fluer’s Place and the Moeraki Tavern (there’s also one near the boulders). I shared a photo of Moeraki on Instagram a while back and someone commented that Fluer’s Place cooks the best seafood in New Zealand. That’s a bold claim, but it might be worth testing that theory. We had a peak inside but were looking for something a bit lighter, so we went to Moeraki Tavern and shared a plate of fish n chips (which was really good).

The best things to do in Moeraki, New Zealand -- Fluer's Place

Getting to Moeraki

Moeraki is 76 kilometres from Dunedin (roughly a 1 hour drive) – the turnoff to the village is just before the Moeraki Boulders. You could probably get dropped off at the turnoff (a couple of kilometres before the village) if travelling by bus. It makes for a great short trip from Dunedin, and can easily be combined with Oamaru (another 40 km further north) to make an awesome full day trip.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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