Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk

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Enjoy a short 1.1 km loop walk out to the stunning Punakaiki pancake rocks on a well formed paved track.

It’s here we saw the spectacular blowhole and surge pools, we were totally captivated by the water going in and out between the rocks. We had to wait for a bit to see a burst of water push out the blowhole, it’s best seen at high tide. Punakaiki Pancake rock is set in the 30,000 hectare Paparoa National Park. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are just down the road from the Punakaiki Caves Walk.

What makes a Pancake Rock look like a pancake?

Limestone layers are made up of tiny shell fragments, with each ‘pancake’ being separated from the next by a thin layer of siltstone. After thousands of years of rain, wind and sea spray which has worn down the softer siltstone into grooves. The edges get rounded on the limestone layers, which is why they look like big fat pancakes.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island
  • Distance: 0.40 kms
  • Time needed: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes, with some assistance.
  • Route: Round Trip
  • Elevation: 20m
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: July 2021

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Point 1: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk – Start at the shopping centre

The walk starts on the opposite side of the little shopping centre. You can’t miss the signs. The idea is to follow the arrows and walk in a clockwise direction but that does not always happen.

Point 2: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk - Quality walking path

You walk through a lot of native flax and Nikau Palms before reaching the sea. We found the walking track excellent and well maintained.

Point 3: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk - Limestone formations

There is no shortage of limestone formations along the way. We had the camera clicking every five seconds, just fascinating.

Point 4: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk - Blowhole lookout

The first large area with seats and guard rails is the place to stop to see the blowholes. the blowholes are made from a maze of underground passages and large caverns where at high tide you might see a huge geyser of spray burst out of the blowhole.

Point 5: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk - The geyser

Follow the path to the geyser. You can hear the water being forced out through the opening of the blowhole.

What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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