Lonely Planet Writer

A bizarre-looking object that washed up on a New Zealand beach has people stopping for a look

While it may not be pretty to look at, an interesting object that washed up on a beach in New Zealand has people stopping for a closer look.

Muriwai local Rani Timoti walks to see a large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles on Auckland's west coast.
Muriwai local Rani Timoti walks to see a large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles on Auckland’s west coast. Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

An object covered in barnacles showed up on Muriwai Beach on the weekend, and one visitor, Melissa Doubleday, posted pictures of it to a local Facebook group asking people what it could be. She had noticed the object when driving past the beach, which is located on the North Island, less than an hour’s drive from Auckland.

A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland's west coast.
A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland’s west coast. Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

While the general consensus is that it’s just a piece of driftwood covered in goose barnacles, its bizarre – and kind of creepy – appearance led commenters to joke that it could be anything from an alien pod time capsule to a beach Christmas tree. Stuff.co.nz reports that people came to the beach to have a peek at the object and take photographs of what was dubbed the “Muriwai Monster”.

A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland's west coast.
A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland’s west coast. Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The unattractive goose barnacles are filter-feeding crustaceans that attach themselves to surfaces, and are eaten as a delicacy in Portugal and Spain, where they are called percebes.

A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland's west coast.
A large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles sits in the sun on Auckland’s west coast. Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

But even if the reality is not quite as exciting as an alien capsule, people were still curious enough to go and check it out. According to News.com.au, odd objects have been washing up on some of the country’s beaches lately, following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in November that disrupted the seabed.