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Gemstone Beach, New Zealand

31 May 2024

Gemstone Beach is a remote beach on remote South Island, New Zealand. On the beach itself, the waves work the sands and pebbles, among which are the occasional semi-precious items, garnet, jasper, quartz, nephrite, sapphire. The wave movement on the beach is constantly revealing new stones.

Tucked along the southernmost shore of New Zealand’s South Island is a hidden gem — lots of them. When the tide drops at the aptly named Gemstone Beach it reveals a mass of stones rounded by the waves, including the occasional semi-precious gemstone, including garnet, quartz, jasper, nephrite, or even sapphire. As the water rinses the stones, their true colors appear — turquoise, sea green, and rust red.

Tripadvisor reviewer Greg T., who visited Gemstone Beach in 2023 noted that “if you are into unique stones generally smoothed by the wave action, large and small then this is for you! [The] best time is as the tide is going out as the stones are still wet and you can see all the differences in the stone … everyone looks around the main entrance but [the] best ones are over the stream.”

Other than the occasional rock hunter, Gemstone Beach tends to be quiet. It is located on the remote Te Waewae Bay near the small country township of Orepuki.

The coastline here is wild and rugged — and the waves are rough. The waves ensure the beach is in a constant state of change, with the surface shifting from sand to stones and back again as storms arrive, waves roll in, and tides shift. This movement is constantly revealing new stones and, occasionally, semi-precious gems.

Orepuki, the gateway to Gemstone Beach, is located 20 minutes from Riverton and 50 minutes from Invercargill. For the best chance of spotting stones, go at low tide. Just remember to leave what you find.

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