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Punakaiki

Home of the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

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:

Rimu14 day South Island adventure trip
Winter Rimu14 day South Island adventure trip
Kiwi14 day South Island adventure trip
Kea Family13 day South Island family trip
Manuka14 day South Island hiking trip

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    A Fantastic trip

    This is the best way to tour South Island of New Zealand. Enjoy the spectacular views, experience the first hand of back country and meet the physical challenges. With small group of people and two dedicated guides, what else one ask for?
    Sha Ma Review Image
    – Kansas, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Awesome Tui Trip!

    My husband and I traveled to New Zealand for a late honeymoon and our adventure started with the Tui Trip which couldn't have been better! Between the amazing places we visited along the South Island from our unbelievable guides who quickly became friends, the trip definitely exceeded our expectations! We quickly learned how kiwis truly cherish and appreciate what their beautiful country has to offer and are so thankful to have had such a wonderful experience. New Zealand will always hold a special place in our hearts, along with our memories of hiking, biking, cheers-ing, and chatting with new friends. Thank you Koru and Liana, for making our trip so unforgettable!
    Lauren Hussey Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Tui, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Rimu Trip - Should be #1 on Your Bucket List

    First of all, the guides were "hands-down" the "BEST EVER"!!! They made this trip extra special. Katie C and Lauren were always looking out for our best interest. They were great at engaging each of us in the group, they took the time to get to know each one of us, they made sure they included groceries that you liked and more. They were fun, energetic and full of happiness! They worked very hard and feed us very well. The food was amazing!!! A big THANK YOU to both of you beautiful young women! Thank you active adventures for hiring fun and inspiring women!
    Vicki Igou Review Image
    – California, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Professionalism and Exceptionalism Beyond Expectations!

    Our recent Tui trip of the South Island was absolutely the trip of a lifetime and more than I could have ever hoped for! As a very seasoned, frugal, independent, tour-averse traveller, signing up and spending the money for this trip was a bit out of character for me. However, that being said, this was probably the best travel investment I have ever made in my life! We packed so many amazing adventures into eight days, with the kindest most knowledgeable and most professional guides ever, that I seriously doubt I could have recreated it on my own. I cannot recommend Active Adventures and our guides Claire and Rachael highly enough and am already looking forward to and planning my next adventure this year with them!
    Chris Gan Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Tui, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Unbelievable weather!

    Our guides really made the trip! Katie and Eve were fantastic, and the South Island was so beautiful. I can't recommend the Tui trip enough.
    Katrina Linder Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Tui, November 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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