New Zealand

Beachcombing in New Zealand

As we walk down the beach, I become aware of my collection of bits and bobs, which is beginning to bulge further out of my jacket pocket.  Shells, sometimes pebbles, stones, small segments of driftwood, smoothed glass and if we are walking along specific beaches there maybe 3 shades of pohutukawa leaves.

Les and beach path_edited

All too precious not to collect. Usually, from being stomped from a passing jogger engrossed in listening to music from their earphones.  Whereas some objects have us completely stumped, and they are ones that we are not inclined to pick up.  These unusual things are usually washed up after a storm, dislodging from the seabed!  The one in the below photo was washed up on Ohope Beach a few years ago, one news source described it as a “sea monster with dreadlocks”, a far more descriptive name than it’s original one which is called Gooseneck Barnacles [Lepas anatifera].  These strange sea objects are considered a delicacy in Spain where food buffs will fork out hundreds of dollars to enjoy eating it.

Beach find_edited

This art of finding and collecting objects has been a habit I had for many years.  Now my enjoyment of beachcombing is through the photographs I take.  As most times my stash of treasure never returns to home base with the Squire and me as I now leave my stash neatly placed in the sand where perhaps a child or another appreciating collector will maybe add these treasures to their own collection.  Then as I walk away, I wonder what will be created with these findings or perhaps the beach/tatahi will reclaim it.


One person who did decorate many objects from years of beachcombing was the Squires, Auntie Margaret. Who used to use particular types of shells’ to brighten up terracotta flower pots, which we were the lucky recipients of one such creation which was placed amongst native grasses in our garden on our orchard/lifestyle block many years ago.  Hopefully, the new owners are enjoying it as the garden had claimed it and it did look very much at home and wouldn’t have been appropriate in a motorhome.

Then there are the times when we have enjoyed our interaction with nieces as they go treasure hunting, discovering what they have collected.  Sometimes even extending that with a visit to the library to find out more information about their discoveries.


So far we have not been fortunate enough to encounter ambergris on our beachcombing explorations.  Now that would be one object worth keeping.

Which makes me think that there must be many others who like me, find it enjoyable picking up that small sandy object from a walk along our many shores.

Here’s to us all finding more “treasures” while out beachcombing.

Beachcombing in New Zealand_edited





43 thoughts on “Beachcombing in New Zealand”

  1. I’ve just returned from Lake Garda and on a lovely walk we discovered a bit of ‘beach art’. Not sure who started it but someone had stacked stones up in an incredible zen-ish display. No sea monsters in the lake though 😉

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    1. I was just telling Em, that I found a collection of flat stones which I glued together in the zen-ish style. They were placed back in the box until the next clean up . I also love coming across sandcastles, where out of fun I place shells on them if the owners are no longer there 🙂

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  2. I always pick up shells on a beach walk, although like you i often end up presenting them neatly on a wall or embankment for someone else to find. We do have a pot of shells on our bathroom windowsill from some long-forgotten beach trip – I wish I’d labelled them now so I could remember where!

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  3. The gooseneck barnacles look like giant tentacles that can come to life in a jiffy! I used to collect shells and pretty rocks when I was younger, but… once you live in a camper or a boat, there are weight and space restrictions! As you know. 🙂 I take photos just like you and I gave my treasured pebble and shell collection – still stored at my parents’ place – to my niece last spring. If I would have a home, I would love to create some kind of art with found treasures.

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    1. Oh Bermuda would be an interesting country to explore. Yes, we are enjoying being back home and catching up with family and friends. Forgotten how tiring sitting down and chatting can be 🙂 All good fun. We will be back to Europe in a couple of weeks, our 3rd year! Looking forward to it.

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        1. Now that would be a good debate. As in our experience everyone believes they live in paradise and have the best of what’s on offer 🙂 To be honest, it really is hard to pick the best and I get turned off by people or travel sites who tell me what places I should visit, the best ones or ways to do see them. I hope I don’t do that. All places have some great spots and not such wonderful ones.


  4. I used to live in whakatane and visit Ohope all the time. Every now and then a structure would be left for the next person to enjoy. The kids loved finding these treasures. Lovely post x

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  5. We used to have lots of shells on our local beaches. I don’t know if it’s climate change, too many people taking them, or something else (or, a combination of reasons), but it’s sad to see how few are there now. I wish more people “collected” like you: admire, maybe take a picture, then leave them on the sand.

    That “sea monster with dreadlocks” is amazing!

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    1. Yes Jan, some beaches have more than others, storms or the reduction of shellfish beds? Cleaning out our lockup and I found a bag of stones I had collected years ago. I dropped them into a riverbed last weekend 🙂 Funny the things we keep!! The sea monster was a big surprise as we had never seen anything like it!

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