Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes
These incredible lime stone rock are definitely well worth the stop to check out, even if the ocean is not playing ball and creating spectacular waves for you. The rocks and blow holes are still fascinating and worth exploring.
No trip down the coast would be complete without a stop over at the Pancake Rocks, these incredible limestone rocks are pretty cool.
These fascinating rocks started forming nearly 30 million years ago, alternating layers of small marine creatures and sand have compressed and compacted over time to form the rocks you see today. Earthquakes over the years have helped to lift the rock formations up from the ocean floor, erosion and the ocean have carved out surge pools and blow holes over thousands of years to create the music you hear coming from it today.
This really nice short paved walk perfect for little kids, you can get a pram around the first part of it but not the whole way. Probably the only down side to these fascinating rocks is often they draw a large crowd so keep that in mind when you go to visit and keep wee ones close by.
The track also runs alongside the main highway so make sure those wee ones do not run off ahead or they could easily shot off on to the main road.
If you want to get a good show to the blow holes like the chimney pot, you need to go along at high tide so keep an eye on the tides. If you are not sure just pop into the local I-Site and they have a list of all the tides there for you.
We walked around the paths to check out all the rocks and blowholes, We were very impressed with how well maintained the area is and how clean it was despite large crowds on the day we visited.
All along the tracks there are sign posts telling you about the different rock formations, and neat wee signs letting you know where all the blow holes are, when to stop and listen to the "music".
These signs were great for the kids, they started to make a game hunting them all down and reading them.
There is also a Kiwi Guardian post on this walk, keep an eye out for it as it is a hard one to spot if you are to busy watching the ocean.
While you are exploring around stop and watch the ocean for a bit, every now and then you might see a pod of dolphins who like to come and play in the rough waves.
We spent about 1hr exploring around, stopping and watching the surge pools which were almost hypnotic to watch as they surged around with the might of the ocean.
The kids looped us around the whole track twice to go back and see some blow holes over again, the loved it.
Mother nature is certainly very impressive.
Across the road from the walking track is an I-Site, Cafes, Gift shop and toilet blocks.
While you are there just up the road is also the Punakaiki Caves that are well worth a look at as well.
"the blow holes were so cool!!! i got sprayed with water" Meika O'Donnell, aged 7yrs
Kiwi Guardian Link
What to Bring
- Insect repellent
Time and Distance
30min - 1hr loop walk
- keep we ones close as often crowded and close to a busy main road.
- pram friendly on the first half of the track, if you can carry your child instead i would recommend you do that as you will get to see more.
- No Dogs
- Information center
- Gift Shop