Bungle Bungle, the striped mountains of Purnululu Park. Australia

Purnululu Park, Kimberley, Western Australia

We are in the heart of Purnululu Purnululu National Park or Bungle Bungle. The drive here was long and littered with thorny branches. Platitudes. You don’t have to read: First we drove to Turkey Creek to get diesel, because the gas station at our base camp where we were staying overnight, Halls creek, was out of diesel.

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Aunt Dusya, the gas station attendant and part-time glassware acceptor, couldn’t really tell us when it was coming. The bottleshop was open from 2 pm, so we decided to drive on with the extra tank.

There was no sense to go to Purnululu with the lack of fuel: would you like to stand somewhere between the gorge and the palm trees on the rocks and pick a can of stew, occasionally glancing at the passing kangaroos?

Nope… I had no such desire. Therefore, after driving 170 km on the tail of the train (for aerodynamic and economic reasons, as cyclists do on the track), we filled up to the brim all the tanks of our Land Cruiser and leisurely, in comfort, with air conditioning, drove back 50 km familiar, paved road, turned under the sign from Savana Way number 1 on a dirt road in the park.

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Australia Parks

Australia Parks

I want to tell you right away: the road is hard – there are potholes and sharp rocks everywhere. Speed 20-30 km / hr so as not to be without wheels and not to break all the beer and wine in the fridge.

On the way we met a Mitsubishi sedan with two girls. We were there Hi! How the wind blew in such a car? (At the exit of the park from the highway is a huge sign: This road ONLY FOR 4WD cars). And they told us – it seemed like a good road, so we decided to try it.

We said to them: come with us! And they were saying something in English to us… I asked Borracho: Do you understand anything, what are we talking about? I tell them in Russian: Come with us! Let’s go moose hunting… And they’re still talking about some conventions, conventions… If you don’t want to go without conventions – that’s your right…

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From the tarmac to the entrance to the park is 53 km winding road on the hills and dry streams. I suppose (but I don’t know for sure) that in rainy season it’s better not to go there – there are some rather deep rivers, now in dry season they are sandy fields with inclusions of stone placers.

Past the burned-out landscape. Borracho looks out the window and clucks his tongue: Wow! And from time to time he runs out to take pictures as he says, of the space scenery.

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Australia Parks

Australia Parks

Well, to me it all looks like a rather monotonous fire with smoky termites. Let me be blunt: I like the fireworks of colors. Juicy combinations. That Ah and fall smitten… As the French say c’est la vie… And a little later, I found what I like.

Striped… orange with black stripes. Egg-like mountains in green and against the blue sky in front of my eyes. Why stripes? Here Borracho told me that it was dead bacteria that stained the sedimentary rocks stacked in a layered pie black.

He read it in a free book that was distributed through the Visitor Center, where you had to pay an entrance fee of $10 per car and $20 for an overnight stay at the campsite.

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In general, while I am driving, constantly straining my eyes, reactions – as I need to react dodging jeeps popping up towards me, flying in a cloud of dust (the road – a rut for one car) – respectively, all in tension: You’re merging with the car and you can feel its back on the loose dirt in the corners and you have to throttle and steer in the opposite direction to get it out of the drift… Borracho is reading a book.

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On the way after crossing some pretty deep creeks that at the end and beginning of the wet season can be a serious test for the motorist (in the wet season the road there is simply closed and locked), we get to the park office: Visitors Center. Here you are supposed to stop and buy a permit to enter the park.

If you are going to stay in the park for the night in one of the two camping sites (there is no other), then you will have to pay for the first night: $20 for the car. That’s pretty cheap, I’ll tell you.

Tip: The first thing to do is to score a campsite spot. I’ll tell you why: the best time to visit all points is early morning and late evening. Light. Temperature. A comfortable trip on foot… Yes, it is customary to walk here and there is a certain beauty in that, as you breathe the air mixed with the scents of blooming heather and feel the waves of coolness flowing from the gorge… from the headwaters of all the streams. From the shade of the mountains…

Stone Wave Rock in Australia. Description, coordinates, photos

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Camping without showers, but with toilets and water taps. A few cars are parked there. People friendly waving bottles of beer. – Hey guys! We are new here. Do you need to toast? – No problem, have a seat…

We parked the car and walked around the territory. We liked one place: on the bank of a dried-up river, secluded and fenced off from the outside world by green bushes. In front of the entrance to this site there is a common toilet and a tap with water. We go that way.

Borracho! Give me your suitcase lock! I put the lock in the lugs of the latch. Borracho draws the “Out of order” poster with a pencil and puts it as a mandate in the door handle (no tape, glue, nails… unfortunately not taken). That’s it.

Now no one will fart under your ear at night. The area is full of stalls with toilets inside. You can walk an extra 30 meters and not disturb people to rest…

The tap water will be used for showers. Do you know what a mandi is? No? Then let me explain: in the days when it was the USSR and there were no cottages in Croatia or condos in Pattaya, people used to take vacations by driving from Moscow to the nearest Moscow suburbs to the water. The Klyazma Reservoir. They lived in tents. They washed by taking water from the reservoir in a bucket and pouring it out of the bucket, holding it outstretched above them, on themselves.

Do you understand? This is what “mandi” is. That’s what they call a shower in Indonesia. Come to Indonesia and enjoy a mandi on the island of Flores, for example…

Anyway, I get a bucket of water (the bucket comes with the machine. It’s needed for washing dishes). I pick it up and pour it over myself. Then I take Borracho’s expensive shower gel (I forgot to take my own, and I still don’t have time to buy it – I’m going home soon). I soap myself. Then I get a bucket of water again. And I pour it all over myself and damn me that the temperature of the water is +50.

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Australia Parks

Australia Parks

Threw some of my stuff out in the space to show I’m settled in. Hung bedding on a rope to dry and air out. It looked like a gypsy camp, not Vinsky and Borracho…

What we had for lunch today

We bought canned soups. You pour it out of the can into a pot, heat it up on the gas, and in a plate you crumble parmesan, avocado, and chives (we don’t have anything else, honestly).

Then you pour that over heated canned soup with genetically modified toppings, a kind of meat and spaghetti and eat it. Not bad.

Even Borracho, a lover of natural Ukrainian products (and I don’t mind salmon with garlic and dumplings with potatoes and onions, as well as homemade ham and kruchenyky), was eating and not zhuzhing…

We had a dinner and went to look at the southern extremity of the park. From the campsite, it’s 16km on a pretty tolerable gravel-covered road. There are a few points to see. All are a short walk from the campsite. Once you’ve parked your car, you walk up the gorge or down to the creek or Dorm trail, following the signposted footpaths.

All the trails are along the now dried up creek beds. Walks are somewhere between 1.5 and 2 kilometers in total one way. The trails end in rooms ranging in size from 50 by 50 to 300 by 300 meters, with now dehydrated waterfalls and puddles of water in the middle of the room. I imagine what rock and roll is going on here when it’s been pouring for weeks… Ughhhh! That’s nice.

But unfortunately you can’t drive here at this time… Only a helicopter with all the money issues that come with it. Well, you can just imagine that by looking at the sandy, parched riverbed.

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Australia Parks

I thought it was possible to minimize the cost of the trip in the wet season: bring a canoe with a motor and go upstream. And if you throw spinning rods, you can troll and catch fish for ukha. Double pleasure: think about it.

Sitting on top of some hill, overlooking the flooded meadows, and in the kettle bubbling barramundi with onions and potatoes. You throw a charcoal from the fire and half a glass of vodka, and some sweet-scented pepper… The soup will turn out great. And all around there are striped, half-submerged mountains. And here we are with Borracho: like Senka Razin and Pugachev Yemelka. The princess overboard! We tied to striped mountains with a sea knot… It’s beautiful around, we want to sing and dance….

We walked along these places till the dark. We bathed in mineralized water, infused on herbs, like spiked tea. It is cool. There is nobody here.

Skull Rock in Australia. Sometimes called Skull Island

The truth wandered lonely girl – bakpekersha, said timidly “Hello” and then ran away, shyly covered her eyes (we bathed without underpants) palm … Water is covered by thin film of essential oils mixed with the dust. There are small fish, which pinches the legs …, but fortunately it is a bottom fish.

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Australia Parks

Then we split up. Borracho went to take pictures of the lockout, and I went to explore the inner areas of the gorge. We had to walk along a narrow path of white sand, with occasional inclusions of river pebbles. The heat of the outer space was replaced by a joyful coolness flowing down the dried-up riverbed.

It felt like dipping my tired feet in yellow suede boots into the clear, once crystal-clear waters of the Jordan River. I felt like Joan of the Cross and was ready to cross any pretty citizen I met who understood Spanish… I would tell her: Fazer amor. And then I’d add singar poseble…

I was entering a ravine where striped walls of rounded formations converged overhead. I wondered why they weren’t gothic-fragmented, but egg-like? Apparently the wind that has been grinding the rocks for millions of years is playing a role (this place is 350 million years old and thank God there are no aboriginal drawings here… they haven’t gotten here yet).

Borracho sits there looking at something on his laptop computer, holding down a glass of whiskey and Coke, occasionally cradling it and sucking in the liquid like a motor-pump. Brazilian faro music plays from my phone.

We just had dinner and watched episode 13 of Lost season 5, which I downloaded a week ago. Then we watched Hare Over the Bare and moved on to our own interests. The place isn’t bad. I don’t know how the overnight stay will work out, but the climate feels cool, some freshness and no mosquitoes. I set up my tent on the ground. I’ll recharge. By the way.

I didn’t feel a bit of a power source in this place. The place seemed de-energized, but it was beautiful. By the way, I noticed that indigenous people also feel charged and have these places. Here, as I wrote, there are no aboriginal drawings… Tomorrow before sunrise we leave for the striped mountains to take pictures. Then to the north of the park and after that we move to Kununurra, where I plan to spend the night.

Bungle Bungle summary.

So far my conclusion is that Bungle Bungles is a beautiful place, very nice and unusual. Compact and cozy. It is not like Uluru. There are no Asian tourists flashing their cameras and paying big money for the opportunity to stand next to the fence and create a trivial experience… There are no fences at all.

Here you can be by yourself and alone with a place that may be somewhere else in the world, but I’ve not seen it. Here you can inhale the smell of freedom, feel the majesty and power of water that has diligently polished what we now see for hundreds of millions of years. Voila. Now let Borracho post pictures. There!

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Hanging from the tree is a fluorescent lantern, bought yesterday at an Aboriginal store for crazy money. Along the trunk of the tree, in the direction of the light flies a stream of insects and I think, what are the fools? Do not they understand that the females are elsewhere, shyly emitting very small lumens … But the males prefer kilowatts, not paying attention to the natural source … Silence. Quiet.

The crickets have lulled into their drunken song and can’t stop. Only sometimes a crazy grasshopper jumps on my belly and scurries away with its own impudence. It’s now 10:30 p.m. Time for bed.

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El Questro Australia

What time do we have? We haven’t got time. We should be in Broome on the 25th to sunbathe, swim in the warm gentle sea and explore places north of here on Beagle Bay Peninsula. Now it’s the 22nd and we’re just at the beginning of Gibb River road. At a place called TownShip or El Questro. Or Station TownShip resort.

Shit, we got here when it was totally dark and the dust behind the jeep in front was like a whitish fog in the shadows of the night. We crossed a few rivers and here we were at a large camp lit by an array of electric lights. – Rich,” was all we could say as we looked at the fireworks. And, damn … it is not clear where the entrance, where the exit, where the river, where you can set up a tent and is not clear where there are showers and toilets.

Actually we stay in campsites just for the sake of it. And without these amenities, you could stay anywhere, except on the expressway, of course. Yeah…

Babinda Boulders - the memory of the beautiful Oolan. Australia

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It cost $17 per person to stay overnight (that’s just for the ability to put the car and tent on their property and use the hygiene amenities). Also at $16 each that we drove into the national park.

– Listen, woman,” I said to the girl with the ring in one of her nostrils. – Listen, woman, or whatever your name is, herla… Where’s your driveway to set up your tent there, anyway? It’s dark as a nigger’s ass, man.

And the girl said something about money and that you can’t drink the liquor you brought with you and that they have tours and tomorrow you can go with a bunch of backpackers to the thermal springs… And I said to her:

– Listen woman… Or herla, whatever your name is… – We need to build a fire. – Our potatoes are already sprouting. We need to use them…

She keeps telling me we can take a helicopter to Bungle Bungles… And I’m telling her:

– “Girl! Oh, sweetheart… We’ve been on the road a lot today. And in Kununurra there was no room at the motel and in general – we have meat – lamb in the fridge, we have to roast and eat. – And think in the dark how…. – Where’s your shower?

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Talked and understood:

– you can stand… Stand where you like – you can’t stand where it says “NO”. Kill – shower: take a flashlight – here not far – make a fire on the river – look for wood on the ground. As a last resort, you can steal from the neighbors – piss off, I want to have a drink.

We try to find a place. We drive through the woods in complete darkness. Headlights here and there flick out the tents standing on the ground with silhouettes flitting in the distance light. It seems to me that they are trying to run somewhere.

– Borracho! Where do you think they’re all going? – To the bottleshop, – Borracho answered and went to the fridge for more.

A day ago in Purnululu Park

This morning began with the ever-increasing rumble of parrots overhead. I opened my eyes. I was dreaming: some devil was shouting, waving his arms, “Comrade traffic cop. ” And then to me: “Peedajdy. ” That’s exactly what he was saying, the transcription is saved…

Borracho also told me in my dream, smiling, that a dollar is now equal to a ruble… Anyway, the dream was restless, so I woke up with pleasure. I looked at the lightening sky through the transparent walls of the tent. The east begins to turn pink. It means it’s time for us to go.

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On the roof of the car in the tent movement begins. First a foot with a sock down shows out of the tent door, and then Borracho himself rolls down the ladder without hands and feet, like a real sailor on the gangway to the shore… He falls on his side after landing. There are stars spinning around his head like in a Tom and Jerry cartoon…

We have a big program today: south to photograph under a different sun position all that was photographed yesterday at sunset. Then north to Bungle Bungle , and then to Kununurra – to civilization.

Oceania’s most mysterious places (Part 1)

Istukan at sunset

Oceania, of which New Zealand is a part, is known for its unique natural phenomena. This land is full of mysteries, and scientists often do not agree on their reasons.

The ancient Polynesians and Maori, for whom the islands of Oceania were home long before the first European set foot on them, wrote many legends and myths about those unusual natural phenomena and strange living creatures that surrounded them. Even today, when scientists are actively exploring the natural mysteries of Oceania, these legends and stories can still often be heard from the local population, especially its indigenous people – descendants of the ancient Polynesians.

I suggest you expand your geography and take a virtual trip to the most amazing and mysterious corners of not only New Zealand, but all of Oceania.

The Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park, Australia

Purnululu National Park in Australia is a beehive-like maze of curious orange and black sandstone formations. In turn, the main attraction Purnululu is the Bungle Bungle Range, which covers an area of 240 thousand hectares.

Purnululu National Park, Australia

The strange name “Purnululu” was given to this area by the aborigines of the Kija and Jaru tribes. It is interesting that although the park and mountain range has existed for more than 350 million years, European colonizers discovered it only in the 80s of XX century. At the same time for the aborigines these spooky mountains for 20 thousand years were a place of sacred ceremonies and rituals. This is evidenced by the numerous traces of human activity that researchers have found in these places.

The southern part of Purnululu Park is occupied by Cathedral Gorge. It is world famous for its incredible natural acoustics.

Horizontal waterfalls of Australia. Description, photos, coordinates.

Purnululu National Park, Australia

Cathedral Gorge in Purnululu National Park

The attraction of the northern part of Purnululu is the Echidna Gorge. Giant several hundred meters high and incredibly steep cliffs of the crevasse can cause stupefaction even to experienced travelers.

Purnululu National Park, Australia

Echidna Gap in Purnululu National Park

Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia

The Chuuk Islands are a compact group of 14 small mountainous islands of volcanic origin, which belong to the Federated States of Micronesia. The historical name of the islands is Truk. Chuuk Lagoon surrounds the central islands of the group and serves as a magnificent harbor for them.

Chuuk Lagoon

Local aborigines began to inhabit the islands of Chuuk Atoll as early as 2,000 years ago, and the first permanent settlements formed there in the 1300s AD. However, Europeans knew nothing about the islands and its inhabitants until they fell under Spanish protectorate after the discovery of the islands by the Spanish navigators.

Chuuk Lagoon

After the Spanish-American War in 1898, the islands of Micronesia, with the exception of Guam, were purchased from the United States by Germany, and at the beginning of World War I they were occupied by Japanese troops. Japan deployed a military base on the Truk Islands, which became known as Japan’s most formidable stronghold in the Pacific.

Chuuk Lagoon

During World War II, there were bloody battles between U.S. and Japanese armed forces near the Truk Islands. During these battles, the Truk Islands were completely destroyed. More than 70 Japanese ships and about 400 Japanese aircraft were destroyed by the Americans and sank.

Chuuk Lagoon

In 1969, the famous explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau made an expedition called “The Phantom Fleet in Truk Lagoon”. He and his team studied and filmed the remains of the sunken Japanese flotilla resting at the bottom of the lagoon.

Chuuk Lagoon

It turned out that in the depths of the Chuuk Lagoon are buried not only human remains, but also the remains of combat fighters, tanks, trucks, bulldozers, as well as motorcycles, torpedoes, mines, bombs and weapons of all kinds. The ships of the flotilla rest at the bottom of the lagoon in the same positions in which they met their doom. Some are lying on their sides, some have maintained an upright position. Some of the ships are virtually undamaged, others, on the other hand, are badly destroyed.

Chuuk Lagoon

The shipwreck graveyard has become home to some of the rarest coral species and a true Mecca for divers. This fantastical yet eerie underwater world attracts diving enthusiasts eager to understand the dark secrets that the turquoise Chuuk Lagoon holds in its depths.

Chuuk Lagoon

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Beechworth, Victoria, Australia

The clinic was originally called Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum. It was built in the town of Beechworth in Victoria, Australia, in 1867. Along with clinics in places Kew (Kew) and Ararat (Ararat) the clinic in Beachworth was a part of a network of psychiatric clinics Mayday Hills.

The Beechworth Clinic was considered one of the largest mental health clinics in Australia. Over the course of its existence, which lasted some 130 years before being closed in the 1990s, it treated a huge number of patients. At its busiest periods, up to 1200 people could stay in the hospital wards of Beechworth Hospital at a time.

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum

However, the clinic’s reputation was by no means flawless. Over the years, some nine hundred patients died while undergoing treatment. In those years, psychiatric clinics used a rather harsh approach to the treatment of people suffering from mental disorders. And it was because of such a high number of deaths after “therapy” that there was talk that the clinic was haunted by the spirits of former patients.

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum

At present, the clinic does not operate. However, it is open to tourists for whom conducted the so-called Nightly Ghost Tours. During the tour you can hear not only mystical and frightening stories about the spirits of deceased patients inhabiting the clinic, but also about the painful and sometimes inhumane treatment methods used in the era of psychiatry.

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum

Eagleshawk Neck, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania

Eagleshawk Neck (or Falcon’s Neck) is a narrow isthmus that connects “Big Land” Tasmania to the Tasman Peninsula. At its narrowest point, the width of the isthmus is only 30, 5 meters. In the early days of British colonization of Tasmania, the isthmus was patrolled by armed guards with dogs to stop prisoners escaping from nearby Port Arthur. One of the most famous prisoners to escape from Port Arthur twice was Irishman Martin Cash. Cash later became a police officer himself.

Eaglehawk Neck is also famous for being home to an unusual natural formation, the Tassellated Pavement. These are flat stones that look like ancient Roman mosaics, created by man, although in fact have a natural origin.

Mosaic Pavement, Tasmania

Also nearby is the famous Tasmanian Arch and the so-called Devil’s Kitchen.

Tasmanian Arch

Tasmanian Arch

Devil's Kitchen

The nearby Pirate Bay beach is a popular spot for surfers and kayakers. The local waters are home to seals, dolphins, and penguins.

Uluru Kata Thuta. Mountains in the Australian desert.

Rapa Nui Istukans, Easter Island, Polynesia

Better known as Easter Island, this island actually has a historical name given to it by the aboriginal Polynesians, Rapa Nuior Isla de Pascua.

Easter Island is a few ancient extinct volcanoes. It was first discovered by the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggevein. It happened on Easter Sunday in 1722, which is why the island got its name.

Rapa Nui is famous all over the world for its extraordinary giant stone figures (moai). These figures in the shape of large heads with elongated faces are lined up along the steep cliffs. They are mounted on stone platforms called “ahu”. Each figure weighs about 50 tons and some are up to nine meters high.

Istukan Rapa Nui Easter Island, Polynesia

The Rapa Nui Istukans are carved from soft volcanic rock extracted from the crater of the dormant Rano Raraku volcano. This volcano is located in the northeastern part of Easter Island. Near it, explorers have found tools – chisels that were used in the making of the figures – and many unfinished icons. The abandoned tools and unfinished figures leave the impression that the craftsmen who made the figures suddenly interrupted their work and never returned to it.

The Rapa Nui statues have elongated faces, heavy bodies, strongly protruding chins, large noses, and long, narrow ears. All the figures stand with solemn stone faces, their lips pressed tightly together and their eyes wide open.

The figures are believed to have been carved by islanders between 1250 and 1500 AD.

A total of 887 giant statues have been discovered on Easter Island. Some of them have been taken to museums around the world, the rest have been moved so that they now stand along the perimeter of the island. Currently, the statues are considered part of the Rapa Nui National Park and it is strictly forbidden to remove them from the island.

Istukan Rapa Nui Easter Island, Polynesia

Meanwhile, scientists around the world are trying to find answers to the questions – who were the people who carved moai, how did they live, how did they manage to carve and move so many giant figures and, finally, what was the purpose of these amazing statues.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland in northwestern Australia is the largest coral reef in the world and the largest natural site formed by living organisms. The Great Barrier Reef Ridge consists of 2,900 coral reefs and 900 islands in the Coral Sea. It is located on an area of more than 344 thousand square meters and is perfectly visible from space.

Great Barrier Reef Queensland, Australia

The reef structure is formed mainly by tiny organisms known as coral polyps. Their formation in the Great Barrier Reef began about 25 million years ago. The shifting tectonic plates in the reef area, changing water temperatures, and changing sea levels contributed to this.

The reef supports a myriad variety of living organisms, many of which are rare and endangered.

Great Barrier Reef Queensland, Australia

In addition to corals, the waters of the Coral Sea are inhabited by dolphins, sharks, whales and more than 1,500 species of fish, including the largest fish on the planet, the whale shark, and a huge number of crustaceans of all kinds: lobsters, crabs, shrimp and crayfish. Clams, squids, and octopuses abound on the reef – including the deadly blue-ringed octopus. The Great Barrier Reef is the nesting ground for 240 bird species, and the South Reef islands have become breeding grounds for sea turtles.

Notably, there are only about 40 plant species on the islands themselves.

Moeraki Boulders, Hampden, New Zealand

I have already written a separate article about Moeraki Boulders, you can read it here: “Moeraki Boulders”. But, of course, Moeraki Boulders deserves to be included in the list of the most mysterious places in Oceania.

In short, Moeraki Boulders are giant boulders scattered over an area of several hundred meters on Koekohe Beach near the fishing village of Moeraki in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. According to Maori legends, the boulders of Moeraki represent the fossilized supplies of the mythical canoe Arai-te-uru that wrecked in the area, and the rocky promontory along the coast represents the remains of the dead captain.

Moeraki Boulders Hampden, New Zealand

In former times, there were considerably more boulders on the coast of Koekohe than there are today. The first mention of them is found in the explorer Walter Mantell and dates back to 1848.

Moeraki Boulders Hampden, New Zealand

Most of the boulders are spherical in shape and extremely heterogeneous in surface. There are boulders as perfectly smooth, and cracked and rough. There are some that have split into pieces and are hollow hemispheres.

Scientists and researchers on the origin of the boulders of Moeraki put forward fairly convincing theories, but none of the theories has yet found confirmation.

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