If you plan a trip along New Zealand’s famous Great Coast Road you will no doubt hear about Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks, as they are one of the most popular sites on the coast. The rocks are a fascinating collection of limestone formations, formed over 30 millions years on the ocean floor. Marine creatures, sand and shells make up the hard rocks, which were compounded under the pressure of the Tasman Sea before New Zealand’s volcanic activity lifted them to above the surface. Visit Pancake Rocks and walk through the deep crevices in the stone, see powerful waves explode through blowholes and watch a stunning sunset.
From the car park on the side of the Great Coast Road it’s just a 20-minute round trip to reach Pancake Rocks. Follow the wheelchair friendly trail to reach the water’s edge for sweeping views of the Tasman Sea and the Pancake Rocks. Gaze across the stacks of rocks to see the water beyond before you follow the trails that lead between the crevices to get close to the compounded rock and see the patterns in the outer shell.
Check the tidal times before venturing to Pancake Rocks, as the blowholes are most impressive on a full tide. Watch as powerful waves careen towards the rock formations, shooting a turret of water through the naturally formed blowholes.
Stick around to watch a classic west coast sunset. The Pancake Rocks are a popular destination for sunset seekers and offer excellent photo opportunities.
The Pancake Rocks are located within the Paparoa National Park, just outside the town of Punakaiki. Drive through the national park along State Highway 6 to reach the roadside car park. There are no fees to visit the rocks.