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 16212 reviews)

    Amazing Adventure!

    I just got home from the Winter Rimu trip throughout South Island of New Zealand. To say it was simply "amazing" does not accurately describe the trip. The views, adventures, service and guides were extraordinary. The trip was worth every penny. Even when snowstorms came or other inclement weather hit, there was always a backup plan that allowed us to keep experiencing the awesome culture, people, mountains, lakes and glaciers of New Zealand. I was very impressed with Active Adventures and can not wait to plan my next trip through Active Adventures!
    Elizabeth Derck Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Winter Rimu, August 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Perfect

    The trip was perfect and our guides, Jo and Andy, are awesome!
      Review Image
    – ,
    Kauri, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    5 day Kauri Trip

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing was the best hike of my life!
    Grace Zheng Review Image
    – Hawaii, United States
    Kauri, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Heaven

    Some call New Zealand home; I call it Heaven. Hiking, biking, kayaking - all with views of spectacular mountain ranges. Everything about this trip was wonderful. Now that I'm home, I'm wondering how I'll ever organize all of our photos.
    Valerie Ezrin Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    North Island - Kauri

    From the first day to the last, I have enjoyed travelling through the North Island with our fantastic guides Jo and Andy. Rain or shine there was always an interesting hike to go to, or a point of view worth stopping at and they know them all. The landscaping of NZ is fabulous in many areas and I liked the fact that we went out of the major tourist attraction points. Andy, excellent driver, is also an encyclopedia of information and such a good narrator he makes the long road trips fill shorter and very pleasant. Jo the mermaid is an excellent cook who enjoyed preparing meals for kings even in restrictive facilities. I enjoyed the fact that we could participate in a good variety of activities as we were hoping to. We felt secure at all times, we learned a lot about the Maori nation and their influence on the actual NZ.
    A very informative and pleasant trip overall, with excellent guides who adapt easily to any group of people or situations they have to deal with. Two tums up, I will definitely recommend this adventure to anyone who enjoys nature and culture out of their comfort zone.
    Claude Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, December 2017

 previous

next 

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.

Active Adventures Brochure
no thanks, i don't like free stuff
Get your FREE Brochure Now!
Active Adventures Brochure
close
close
no thanks, i don't like free stuff
close
close