Tourism West Coast - Pancake Rocks (8).jpg Tourism West Coast - Pancake Rocks (8).jpg

Punakaiki

The Great Coast Road

The Great Coast Road is one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world.

Westport
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One of top 10 coastal drives in the world

The Great Coast Road is one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet and we just use it for our everyday travel!

It takes you alongside the ancient limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park and is home to the world's smallest penguin.

Along the way, experience underground rafting at Charleston, caving at Fox River and you won't want to miss the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki.

The Great Coast Road (which takes 90 minutes at a full speed, we recommend you slow down and enjoy it) traverses Charleston, Fox River, Punakaiki, Barrytown, Rapahoe and Runanga on its way from Westport to Greymouth.

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Getting to Punakaiki

Find out time and distance from Punakaiki to other locations:

Places to visit on The Great Coast Road


Between Charleston and Fox River

Charleston is not far south of Westport and once boasted a gold mining population of 5,000 and more pubs than permanent houses.

The village is now better known for its extensive limestone caves and the Nile River.

The sheltered beach at Constant Bay is a great place to picnic with the kids and the walks to Constant and Joyce Bays give great coastal views.

For the adventurous, there are guided caving tours from eco-tours into a glowworm cave to full on adventure caving.

The Tiropahi Tram mountain bike track is a great mixed grade ride and the Tiropahi Walk visits an old bush tramway. Charleston is also a place for those who like rock climbing with routes bolted on the cliff faces.

To Learn about Charleston history, visit the Mitchells Gully Gold Mine or the two pioneer cemeteries. Or you can read more about the many historical sites on the West Coast.

Fox River is north of Punakaiki and is the start of a very interesting track to the Fox River Cave and the impressive Ballroom Overhang. Take a torch for the caves.

Two historic places of interest at Fox River are the Fox River Bridge and Te Ana o Matuka, a sea cave occupied by early travelers.


Punakaiki

Punakaiki is a small village located near Paparoa National Park and home to the world famous Pancake Rocks

The 20 minute loop track to Dolomite Point gives the best views of the 30 million year old limestone formations.

There are many artists that have been attracted to the wild coast. There is a cafe, pub, dining and accommodation in Punakaiki.

Just to the north of Punakaiki it is worth stopping to do the easy (30 minutes return) Truman Track that meanders through native bush to the beach giving you a close up view of limestone rock formations.

The impressive blowholes are at their best at high tide – ask at the Paparoa National Park i-SITE about the tide times.

There are several other walks in the Punakaiki area and Paparoa National Park. The Pororari River Walk can take from 15 minutes to 2-hours depending on how far you go.

It follows a spectacular limestone gorge or you can continue along a portion of the Inland Pack Track to do a 3-hour loop back to Punakaiki.


Barrytown

Barrytown was once a centre for flax harvesting but its claim to fame these days is knife-making.

Over a day you can make your own hand forged knife from red-hot steel and native timber – no experience needed!

This unique activity gets rave reviews so it is not-to-miss!

Rapahoe is a small coastal settlement on the edge of a truly picturesque beach. You can access one end of the Point Elizabeth Walk from here.

The 2-hour walk has great views of the coastline and a large section follows an old goldmining water-race.

For other scenic walks see the best walking and hiking tracks on the West Coast.


Runanga

Runanga is where the roots of West Coast coal mining run deep.

The Coal Creek Falls Walkway leads to a gorgeous fan waterfall with a great pool.

Or if you have a taste for mud, think about stopping for Off road biking, go karting or a Haglund ride

The Miners Hall here is a well known historic place in Runanga and worth a stop.

Events

Events

taiko festival.jpg
01 May 2021
Punakaiki
Tāiko Festival - Return of the Westland Petrel Festival

POSTPONED UNTIL MAY 2021, SAME LINE UP, SAME GREAT TIME, see you next year! The return of the Westland Petrel festival has been made to celebrate the Westland Petrel. A bird which returns from South America to Punakaiki once a year to breed.

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See, do & stay

Punakaiki
See & Do
Underworld Rafting Underworld Adventures

Underworld Rafting: Is a “Cave Rafting Adventure” in the Paparoa National Park. Located in Charleston.

$185
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Punakaiki
See & Do
Punakaiki Horse Treks Punakaiki Horse Treks

Scenic horse riding into the Punakaiki valley and within the Paparoa National Park. A great way to experience the stunning scenery of the Punakaiki valley.

$200 per person
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Punakaiki
Accommodation
Punakaiki Tavern Accommodation and Bistro Punakaiki Tavern Accommodation and Bistro

A warm relaxing atmosphere with quality friendly service. Tavern, accommodation and bistro in Punakaiki, West Coast, New Zealand.

$140 - $190
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Punakaiki
See & Do
Group Volunteers w Kurt.JPG Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project

Book in to support and volunteer at our Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project with Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. With your help, we are restoring the Sand Plain Forest and planting 170,000 trees on 75 hectares.

FREE ACTIVITY
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Punakaiki
See & Do
Pancake-Rocks-And-Blowholes-New-Zealand9.JPG Punakaiki Walks

Walks in the Punakaiki area of the West Coast of New Zealand.

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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.

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