The 'Pancake Rocks and Blowhole' is a very popular tourist spot just south of the township of Punakaiki. The 'Pancake Rocks' isan area of limestone which has been eroded by the sea resulting in what seems to be pancake layering of the rock. At high tide a number of blowholes display their waterspouts. There are a selection of walkways throught the...more
The most unusual feature along the ruggedly beautiful West Coast is the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaki. Peculiar geological forces have shaped the rocks into strange shapes that account for their name. If the waves are especially high, they can cause sea water to blow through these rock formations with great force, hence the nickname "blowholes."more
We visited Paparoa National Park while in Punakaiki. It consisted of "pancake rocks" which were, of course, flat limestone rocks stacked on top of each other that looked like pancakes. There were also blowholes where the ocean would come through and spew water high into the air. It was worth the stop.more
The main reason for a trip to Punakaiki is to come see the Pancake Rocks in most people's case. This is a beautiful and easy walk, with ample parking, and some truly amazing scenery. The entire walk took us less than an hour, and the tour books say it is about a 20 minute walk.To begin this walk, show up at the Department of Conservation Visitor...more
We took a detour from our original plan of heading towards the southwest direction of Hokitika. Instead, at the T-junction of State Highway 73 and 6, we turned right and headed northeast past Greymouth to Punakaiki.I've read so much about the place that I needed to make that detour even though we were running quite late and that the sun was about...more
The Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks are located halfway between Westport & Greymouth, and are among the West Coast 's most famous sight. These thin horizontal layers of limestone rocks of about 2-4cm thick, formed over millions of years, have formed what look like stacks of pancakes. These fascinating ‘pancake’ rocks have been eroded by the sea, which...more
These limestone rocks began forming 30 million years ago as tiny fragments of dead marine creatures such as bivalve shellfish and other molluscs, creating an even layer of sediment on the seabed. Earthquake action lifted the layers to the surface. The sea, wind and rain have since sculpted the unusual rock formations. As heavy swells thunder into...more
The prime reason to visit this little dot in the map, is to see the layers of rocks unique to this part of the world - no-one quite knows how the rocks are formed.There are also blowholes to be seen with the sea spraying through the eroded gaps - make sure you turn up at high tide or, like us, you will miss the whole charade.There is also a cavern...more
Wild Coast is well known and popular, but the down side of that is too many people, especially when the buses arrive! There is room for everyone, with outdoor tables as well.
The cafe has an internet room, which is very convenient.
Open 8am until sunset, 7 days a week.
Favorite Dish: I ordered fish and chips, being on the coast. However it was a very busy day and the fish was simply horrible. The rest of the food looked fine, but I would prefer they remove fish from the menu if if it has been sitting for a while, rather than sell it and have me be disappointed.
This won't put me of Wild Coast Cafe though, the place appealed to me still :-)
Punakaiki is located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, which is not very convienent for many flights. It will probably be best to fly into Christchurch and then rent a campervan or car and drive from ChCh over to the West Coast, and then possibly down to the Glaciers.
We chose Budget for our trip to New Zealand, but this was purely on a best rate for the location. There were several other major car retailers located in the same location, but Budget was offering a week-long rental special, which was what we needed.
This craft shop is a co-op with many local artists, with most of the art and craft coming from West Coast artists in particular. The store itself is located with the same general area as the beginning of the Pancake Rocks trail, which makes it easy to shop before and after your hike. There was a bit of everything in this small store, including the usual trinkets for the traveller.
What to buy: Ceramics, Fabrics, Jewelry, Paintings
What to pay: Felt Hats from $75 NZD up to $450 NZD for a beautiful painting.
Do be careful on your drive to and from Punakaiki. Despite the best efforts of man, nature is an odd duck that likes to constantly wear away at the cliffs through the use of waterboarding. In this particular case, The Tasman Sea was doing a little work on Highway 6!You never know when a coastal highway will give way like this, so make sure you...more
On the way out to Punakaiki, there will be a few small towns, however they are very spaced out. On this particular trip, my wife was nice enough to let me stop for a restroom break on the side of the road... and now I know it was because she wanted to take a picture!As a general warning, make sure you take advantage of the rest stops you have along...more
The West coast of the South Island is, hmmm, how can I put this? Damp - VERY damp. It does have a rainforest climate after all. I have never known such torrrential rain - go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Compensation from that 'soaking wet through' feeling occurs when the rains stop, the clouds lift, and a breathtaking shiny green...more
During your walk along the trail to and from the Pancake Rocks, you will notice that there is a rock outcrop that suits itself almost perfectly for the "armchair" pose. There will likely be a line that forms to take this picture, so make sure you are aware of its guile and wit. It will continue to sit there, yearning for you to take this picture. We were able to avoid it on the way out to the rocks, but on the way back, there was a great opportunity as no one else was posing in it. Despite my efforts, we were drawn in and this photo was made. Be careful!
Unique Suggestions: Look terribly cheesy, and make sure everyone knows it was the rock that forced you into it.
As this was part of a day trip from Christchurch to Hokitika, Punakaiki did not require any baggage. If this is part of a longer camper van, then this trip would be wisely put into a backpacker form. During August, the weather was definitely cold enough to warrant a fleece coat, and long pants. I was not cold enough to use thermal underwear,...more
It seems like this area of New Zealand rains quite a bit. When I was there, it was drizzling. So Jac & I stopped by the Tourist Centre to pick up some souvenirs (In actual fact to steer clear for the rain). The lady at the counter advised me to buy a beanie to keep ourselves warm, and that was what I did.more
242 Reviews and Opinions
Just a 15 minutes drive down south of Punakaiki is a rock-filled but extremely serene stretch of beach. Take a quick breather and hear the sea come to life as the waves pound the greyish sand. I was there for about 20 minutes - admiring the sea that was in front of me and the mountain that was behind.The beach was literally untouched, except that,...more
A very rewarding short walk... just 15 minutes walk through the coastal forest, it'll lead you to this great ocean view. You can also get down to the beach with caves and a waterfall.To get here, you'll have to watch out for signage. It's located north of Punakaiki (not very far). If you're coming from the north, pull over opposite of the track...more
Punakaiki is located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is located 45km north of Greymouth, on the outskirts of Paparoa National Park. It is roughly a 4 hour drive from Christchurch, following Highway 73 across the South Island from east to west, and then Highway 6 up from Greymouth. During this trip, you will likely stop in Arthur's Pass, and Greymouth as they are the largest towns on the trip.
For directions from Christchurch, try this link: Map to Punakaiki