The Pancake Rocks are a heavily-eroded limestone area where the sea bursts though a number of vertical blowholes during high tides, creating a kind of geyser effect.
Together with the "pancake" layering of the limestone — created by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments — it makes for a very strange and beautiful environment.
The coastal promontory of the Pancake Rocks is looped by an easy walking track — 15 minutes, or as long as you want to take to stare into the fascinating surge pool at the point (known as the Devil's Cauldron), catch the blowholes in action, or enjoy the sweeping views down the Paparoa National Park coastline.
Know Before You Go
State Highway 6, the only through road on the West Coast, passes through the town between Westport and Greymouth.
- Wikipedia: Punakaiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punakaiki
- New Zealand's Information Network: Punakaiki Coast: http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/destinations/punakaika.html