strange object has washed up on a beach in New Zealand sparking a social media debate about what it could be.

The large object covered in barnacles was spotted on Muriwai Beach in Auckland by local resident Melissa Doubleday.

She posted the photo on the Muriwai & Waimauku Area Community Group, asking: “Just curious to know if anyone knows what this is??! Washed up on Muriwai Beach.”

Melissa Doubleday
Melissa Doubleday posted the images on Facebook  CREDIT: MELISSA DOUBLEDAY / FACEBOOK 

A shocked Ms Doubleday added that she spotted the object about 5km down the beach from the creek, adding: “[I] drove past and [was] like what the?”

“It looks like worms with shells I’ve never seen before with these funny creatures that just [coming] out.”

She told “I actually thought it was a washed up whale as I approached it, so weird.”

Exactly what the object is has sparked a debate on social media, with commentators speculating it could be anything from art to part of an old ship wreck.

Nick Vitasovich joked: “Sea monster’s dreadlocks.”

Kathleen Kerr wrote: “Alien Pod time capsule?”

“Wow what a find! No idea what it is. Curious,” commented another.

Many others suggested it was: “Drift wood covered in Goose Barnacles.”