Crowds flock to see 'monster' at Auckland's Muriwai beach
Members of the public flocked to Muriwai Beach on Monday, cameras in hand, trying to catch a glimpse of the "Muriwai Monster".
Beach-goer Melissa Doubleday first discovered the barnacled drift wood on Saturday, and posted the pictures on Facebook.
The images generated a lot of online traffic, with people both confused and intrigued by the alien-looking object.
Muriwai resident Rani Timoti said in all her years wandering the beach, she has never seen anything like it.
"This is the biggest one I've seen. It's got a putrid smell when you're down wind and when you look closely, it looks like wiggling worms," she said.
The New Zealand Marine Sciences Society said they were "almost positive from looking at the images" that it was a piece of driftwood covered in what are known as gooseneck barnacles.
Gooseneck barnacles are filter-feeding crustaceans that live attached to hard surfaces of rock or driftwood.
In Portugal and Spain, they are a widely consumed and are an expensive delicacy known as percebes.
The Cooking Lisbon website has a number of gooseneck barnacle recipes and describes them as "softer than squid, firmer than crab".
The "Muriwai monster" is located roughly 5km down the beach from the Muriwai Creek end.