Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast

Image: Benhi Dixon | Creative Commons

Introduction

Explore a limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools on this short, paved walk that's great for children.

Track overview

1.1 km loop

Dog access

No dogs

About this track

Description

This is an all-weather walk around the curious limestone formations of pancake rocks and blowholes. With the exception of an optional short section with steps, the walk is suitable for wheelchairs (with assistance).

Blowholes form from a mixture of compressed water and air escaping through the caverns below and being forced upwards, creating a huge wall of spray. They are at their best around high tide when there is a south-westerly swell.

Spectacular views, geological oddities, coastal forest, rich birdlife and marine mammals are highlights along this walk.

Getting there

The walk is at Dolomite Point, near the little settlement of Punakaiki on SH6. It's 44 km north of Greymouth and 57 km south of Westport.

Nature and conservation

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.

Know before you go

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.


All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to fly a drone on any public conservation land - see Recreational drone use and Commercial drone use for more information.


Contacts

Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 731 1895
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   paparoavc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   4294 Coast Road
Punakaiki
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Postal Address:   4294 Coast Road
Punakaiki
RD 1
Runanga 7873
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