Punakaiki Pancake Rocks New Zealand South Island
Explore Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
Punakaiki is a small community between Westport and Greymouth and is home of well known Pancake Rocks in New Zealand’s South Island. Punakaiki is on the edge of the Paparoa National Park, which boasts amazing coastal forest, native trees and plants, limestone cliffs, caves and underground streams, so it’s not surprise that this national treasure has some of the countries most stunning walks and scenery.
Punakaiki is located 50 minutes from Omau Settlers Lodge heading South on State Highway 6. If you are visiting the West Coast, then a visit to Dolomite Point in Punakaiki is a must do as you travel the stunning Coast Road.
When heading South to Dolomite Point; on arrival there is car parking on the left hand side of SH6, and you will need to cross the road to enter the walkway. The track around Dolomite point is sealed and there is wheelchair access along most parts of the walkway.
The heavily eroded limestone rocks have been named pancake rocks, because they look like stacks of pancakes. The blowholes are a stunning feature of the walk where the sea bursts through various naturally formed blowholes, creating an amazing visual display. Dolomite Point is part of the larger Paparoa National Park, which boasts many walking tracks, caves and natural wonders.
It will take you about 30-40 minutes to complete the walkway at Dolomite point. As mentioned, the first part is wheelchair accessible. There are interpretation panels and signage along the way to help explain the features and geology of the area.
Dolomite point is best visited at high tide
Check the local tide times at the nearest i-Site visitor centre or online here. The blowholes create an impressive display at high tide, particularly if there is a rough sea, not only is the sea spray amazing, the sound effects are pretty good too.
When you have finished exploring Dolomite Point, you can head over to the Pancake Rocks cafe for a hot chocolate and a stack of pancakes, or something more substantial, before continuing your travels. Or if you prefer, head up the road to the Punakaiki Tavern, which has an all day menu and friendly hosts. There is also an i-Site visitor centre along with a souvenir gift shop at Punakaiki, in case you feel like purchasing a memento of your visit.
Things to see and do while in Punakaiki:
- Horse Trekking
- Numerous rainforest walks and coastal tracks
- Stargazing tours
- Canoeing up the Pororari river
- Rock climbing and caving
- Enjoy local crafts and watch artists work including Knifemaking, glassblowing and more
- Watch a stunning West Coast sunset on one of the many beaches along your trip
- Swimming, surfing and fishing (check with locals for safe areas!)
For more information about Punakaiki and Dolomite Point, visit the Punakaiki Official Tourism Site.