Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes


The famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes are just a 20 minute loop walk from where you park your vehicle on the main highway at Punakaiki. Looking like giant pancakes the curious limestone formations are especially spectacular at high tide in a westerly sea.

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki. Photo: S. P. Hayes.
Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki


The Pancake Rocks are most spectacular in the Putai area. They were formed 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landed on the seabed about 2 km below the surface. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify in hard and soft layers. Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed. Mildly acidic rain, wind and seawater sculpted the bizarre shapes.


These are located at Dolomite Point, near the little settlement of Punakaiki which is located on SH 6, 40 minutes drive north of Greymouth and 50 minutes south of Westport.

Plan and prepare

Because the return track suddenly emerges on the highway make sure children are not running ahead. A lifebelt near Sudden Sound Blowhole reminds us it is very dangerous to stray from the track and to take special care of children – keep to the formed path and do not go beyond safety barriers!

Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted in this area.

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Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for West Coast places


Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 731 1895
Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details