Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes

Layered limestone rock formations on the coastal drive between Greymouth and Westport which is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the best 10 coastal drives in the world.

Just 1 hours drive from Hokitika this geological wonder is at it’s most spectacular around high tide and when the sea is rough.


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.


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.


Plan and prepare

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.

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.

Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth.

The community lies on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. The Punakaiki township has a National Park i-SITE Visitor Centre, café and tearooms, craft shop and plenty of car parking. The surrounding area is scattered with accommodation – upmarket hotel apartments, boutique bed & breakfasts, self-catering motel units, a campervan and camping ground, and backpacker accommodation.

The Pancake Rocks are a very popular tourist goal at Dolomite Point south of the main village.  The Pancake Rocks are presently explorable by a number of walkways winding through the rock formations, parts of these wheelchair-accessible and others carved into stairways up and down the rock faces State Highway 6, the only through road on the West Coast, passes through the town.