Pancake Rocks – Punakaiki, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

Pancake Rocks

Punakaiki, New Zealand

This strange geological landscape erupts with sudden bursts of water. 


The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through 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

Time your visit to coincide with High tide. It is interesting to look at when the tide is out but the insane display of the blowholes only happens around high tide. If you have time to spend the day, hike around the area and return for low tide where you can access an otherwise portion of the beach and reach a cave, and if the time is right, a waterfall onto the beach.State Highway 6, the only through road on the West Coast, passes through the town between Westport and Greymouth.

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