Must see

Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

Directions

About

The pancake rocks in Punakaiki are the most visited natural attraction on the West Coast with good reason, they really do look like pancakes!

Price

Free

More information

The Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point near Punakaiki are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through several vertical blowholes.

The foundations of the Pancake Rocks were formed 30 million years ago when minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landed on the seabed about 2 km below the surface.

Immense water pressure caused them to solidify into layers of more resistant limestone and softer, thin, mud-rich layers.

Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed where water, wind and salt spray eroded the softer layers leaving a "pancake" like stack of harder limestone.

Pancake Rocks & Blowholes at high tide

Along the way, there are some impressive blowholes that are best viewed at high tide.

Check at the local Department of Conservation visitor centre for the times. Be ready, when they are pumping they provide a loud "whoosh" and can get you with some sea spray.

Keep your eyes open as Hector's Dolphins like to play close to shore.

This is one of the West Coast's most impressive natural wonders, so allow more time than you think you'll need - you won't regret it.

Walk the Pancake Rocks track

Part of the Paparoa National Park, the Pancake Rocks are accessed by the easy Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk right in the centre of Punakaiki.

  • Allow 20-45 minutes to walk the whole track.
  • The first part of the track is wheel chair accessible and offers some good interpretation panels to learn about the geology of the area.

Carry on and you will head up and down stairways cut into the rock faces and cross over a natural limestone bridge and Surge Pool. Trust us - your camera will get a full workout.

Directions

State Highway 6, Punakaiki, West Coast, New Zealand
Get directions

Related Listings

Punakaiki
Towns, Places & Info centres
Paparoa National Park Department of Conservation Visitor Centre Paparoa National Park Department of Conservation Visitor Centre

Call in and see what Punakaiki and the Paparoa National Park has to offer.

Learn more
Punakaiki
See & Do
Punakaiki Canoes 1.jpg Punakaiki Canoes

Take a leisurely paddle on the Pororari River beneath towering limestone cliffs in the Paparoa National Park.

Adults - $45pp
Children - $15
Learn more
Punakaiki
See & Do
Paparoa Track Paparoa National Park

Paparoa National Park features coastal forest along a spectacular coastline.

FREE
Learn more
Punakaiki
See & Do
Gloworm Cave tour The Charleston GlowWorm Cave Tour

The Charleston Gloworm Cave Tour takes visitors by train into the magnificent rain forest of the Nile River Canyon to explore the enormous Nile River Cave System.

$87.50 - $120
Learn more
Punakaiki
See & Do
Horse wagon tours Golden Sands Horse and Wagon Tours

Golden Sands Horse & Wagon Tours in Barrytown offer a guided tour by horse and wagon in the footsteps of the early pioneers.

$60 per adult $30 per child.
Free for children aged three and under.
Valid until: 1/6/2020
Learn more
Punakaiki
See & Do
The Nile River Rainforest Train The Nile River Rainforest Train

The Nile River Rainforest Train Is a short interpretative train journey through primeval rain forest whilst seated in small open sided carriages.

$20-$25
Learn more