One of the most unique sights in New Zealand lies along the East Coast of the South Island, in the Otago region. The Moeraki Boulders are a series of spherical boulders that appear randomly placed along the tideline. With unique and distinctive lines crisscrossing their surface, they look like something out of a science fiction novel, or, in line with New Zealand’s spate of recent high fantasy movies, dragon’s eggs. The scientific explanation for the boulders is that they are concretions (hard, compact items that are formed by precipitation of mineral cement that are found in sedimentary rocks) that have been eroded for the last sixty-five million years. However, despite the geologic and scientific explanation that exists, the Moeraki Boulders also have a cultural and mythological explanation as well.
After all of the Lord of the Rings movies, and the Hobbit movies, much is made of New Zealand being exactly like Middle Earth, with rolling green hills, high snow-capped mountains, and lush forests and roaring rivers. While New Zealand has all of these things and more, it also has an area that appears to be lifted straight from the Sahara, or from one of the deep deserts of the world. That place is the Farewell Spit, a fifteen mile (25km) stretch of land that extends from the northern section of the South Island of New Zealand. And for those willing to explore it, the Farewell Spit features sand dunes, blowing sand storms, long stretches of sandy coast, wildlife, and hidden pools of water.