Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. It is also the centre for Paparoa National Park, which features 30,000 hectares of varied landscape from mountain tops, rainforest and rugged beaches at sea level. It's easy to see why Punakaiki is one of the major tourist attractions on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. There are plenty of hikes in this area, as well as surfing spots and limestone caves to explore.
Pancake Rocks and the Blowholes
The Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are remarkable pieces of natural sculpture made of layered limestone columns carved by the sea. They are best seen after dramatic westerly storms when the sun is reasserting itself in the face of fantastic cloud formations on the horizon. If you time it right, at high tide with a heavy swell, sea water is forced up through the blowholes for a demonstration of the power of the sea.
The History of Punakaiki
Maori travellers knew it as a great place to pamper the puku, the tummy. Punakaiki literally means "a spring of food". Later came gold seekers, headed by the Sams Party ("Black Sam, White Sam, French Sam and another Sam"!) The boomtown of Brighton, complete with 53 pubs, flourished and vanished, and then there was the "Tin Man" - a real mystery of history.
Check out Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks on the following New Zealand tours:
Rimu – 14 day South Island adventure trip
Winter Rimu – 14 day South Island adventure trip
Kiwi – 14 day South Island adventure trip
Kea Family – 13 day South Island family trip
Manuka – 14 day South Island hiking trip