Paparoa National Park is perhaps most famous for the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Dolomite Point
Image: Andris Apse | ©
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.
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 SH6, 40 minutes drive north of Greymouth and 50 minutes south of Westport.
Because the return track suddenly emerges on the highway make sure children are not running ahead.
Keep to the formed path and don't go beyond safety barriers.
A lifebelt near Sudden Sound Blowhole is a reminder that it's very dangerous to stray from the track and to take special care of children.