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motukiekie Beach guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Motukiekie beach


Rock shelf full of bright orange starfish

Greymouth, West Coast

10 or 20 mins walk

Difficult or Easy (depending on the route you take!)


Best time to visit: low tide and sunset

Shoes or jandals (depending on the route you take!)


  • Coordinates of the rock shelf: -42.323231, 171.266281

  • Coordinates for the closer (but more difficult access) parking: -42.327375, 171.266596

  • Coordinates for the further (but more easier access) parking: -42.314391, 171.279967

  • If you prefer an easy (but longer) walk you can park along the main stretch of Motukiekie beach, scramble down to the beach and then walk 20 minutes south along the beach to the rock shelf.  This is the second set or coordinates above. Alternatively you can park at a tiny pull off much closer to the rock shelf, but at a much higher altitude and scramble down a rather hectic bush track. At this pull off, you’ll see a track through the bush, just follow it down and expect to climb down ladders and ropes and use tree roots to navigate your way down. Do not wear jandals like we did the first time. This was silly. This wee parking spot has enough space for 3-4 cars only.

 best time to visit? 

  • Low tide is by far the most important factor here. Ideally, you want to visit as close to the lowest point of low tide as possible. In fact, you can’t even access the beach until two hours before/after low tide. Once we had visited an hour before low tide and the rock shelf wasn’t even visible.

  • The swell can also play an important factor so a calm day is most ideal.  

  • Ideally, if you can get a low tide, calm day and sunset all at the same time GO THEN! :)

 cj travel tips 

  • There are so many cool rocks and caves that you can also explore if the starfish aren’t visible! We particularly loved the ones at the bottom of the hectic walk down.

  • Keep an eye out for the waves when you venture onto the rock shelf and be prepared if a large wave comes crashing in (especially when you have your camera in hand). You also need to be mindful where you are stepping.

 cj photography tips 

  • You’ll need to take multiple shots and blend exposures here. Bringing out the detail in the starfish and rocks will overexpose the sky, so take some darker exposures so you can bring back the detail in the sky during post processing.

  • We use Raya Pro for blending exposures like this. It’s a paid photoshop plugin but is relatively cheap and comes with tutorials on how to use it.

  • Focus stacking will also improve the sharpness of your overall image. We shot at F/8, and took at least 3 shots, focusing on the starfish, the rock slightly behind and then the rocks in the distance.

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful here:

  • Water shoes for rock hopping.

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