Beachcombing New Zealand Pt. 2

Oreti Beach, Invercargill

I know, I know. Oreti Beach was featured on my last Beachcombing NZ post. But since we lived in Invercargill for five months, it's definitely the New Zealand beach that I've beachcombed the most. It's rugged, expansive, and there are almost too many shells to find - if you know the right places to look. For instance, I found beautiful BIG paua shells in seaweed piles (see first beachcombing post). Then, on later trips, I discovered that delicate, beautiful spirula spirula shells (above right) can be found about every meter just at the foot of the tall dunes lining Oreti on the east side.

Taramea Bay, Riverton


Among the rocks at Taramea Bay in Riverton, I found a surprisingly wide variety of small shells. Not only did I find shells but also plenty of awesome tiny pebbles in all sorts of colors and patterns (see above).

Stirling Point, Bluff

Just to the right of this adorable lighthouse at Stirling Point in Bluff was a rock-studded beach that was absolutely covered with turret shells in an incredible array of purple tones. I think I have over a handful - they'd make a great mosaic for sure. *cough cough* Future plans! *cough*

Bob's Bay, Picton


In picture-perfect Picton, we did a quick tramp to Bob's Bay from the Picton Foreshore. At the beach at Bob's, I found more (100% dead and dried out) starfish than anywhere else I've ever been. I also found plenty of intact dead kina (urchins) as well as one chiton, and a wide array of top shells.

Kaiteriteri Beach

On the gorgeous golden beach at Kaiteriteri, I found plenty of rather interesting mollusc shells (above right at top) along with other keepers. But it also ended up being a pretty great place for sea glass. I didn't see much glass; in fact, I only found two pieces. But one piece was red and one gold-yellow. Both are considered to be super rare in sea glass collecting circles, with an estimated 1 in 10,000 chance of finding glass of either color. Pretty cool, eh?

West Coast Secret Beach (Near Ship Creek, Haast)

west coast new zealand
nz greenstone pounamu

Much like many other beaches on the West Coast of the South Island, this beach was covered in smooth rocks tumbled by the Tasman Sea. But not just any rocks... On this beach, we found a few pieces of New Zealand jade aka "greenstone" or pounamu in Maori. It's a beautiful dark-green (sometimes almost black) stone that we saw in the form of souvenir jewelry throughout the country - I even have a greenstone necklace I bought at the market in Motueka. Other than paua shell inlay or wool, it seems to be one of the most common and iconic natural materials produced in New Zealand. For that reason, it was really exciting to find some ourselves! We felt like treasure hunters.

Ngarunui Beach, Raglan

ngarunui beach

Ok, I don't know about you guys BUT I had never found one spirula spirula shell before coming to New Zealand. First I found one on the Coromandel Peninsula (see first Beachcombing NZ post), then I found about ten total on Oreti Beach outside of Invercargill. Little did I know that the real place to be was Ngarunui Beach in Raglan on the North Island!! Emmett and I stopped here briefly on a road trip and we spent an hour just finding handfuls of these guys on the upper wrack line. WOW. I didn't end up keeping every single one because... it was a bit much! Still though, pretty exciting little detour on our road trip. Plus the beach was beautiful - always a plus.