As it is Pancake Day in the UK today (also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras depending on where in the world you are) I thought I would I write about the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in Punakaiki, New Zealand.
Punakaiki is a small town situated on the West Coast of the South Island and it is famous for its pancake rocks and blowholes. The pancake rocks are so called because they basically look like giant stacks of pancakes!
The curious rocks are limestone formations that were formed 30 million years ago. Remnants of dead marine creatures and plants settled on the sea bed and solidified. A combination of water pressure and seismic activity, along with the elements, created what you see today.
The best time to visit the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes is at high tide when you can watch the sea churn up waves below that crash into the rocks and spout water upwards through the blow holes (which you can watch in my video at the bottom of this post).
The walk to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes is a pleasant 20 minute loop (although much longer if you linger to take photos and videos like we did) and much much more impressive to view in person than in a photograph. It’s also fun to pose next to the tall plants that look like giant blades of grass and pretend that you have been shrunk!
Of course, you can’t come all the way to Punakaiki and not indulge in some pancakes of the edible variety. Right opposite the entrance to the Pancake Rocks walk is the Pancake Rocks Cafe. We decided to go there for breakfast the following day, although the pancakes are available all day. There is alot more than just pancakes on the menu, but surprisingly only two types of pancakes – streaky bacon served with maple syrup and caramelised banana or berries and cream. Not that cheap but probably the best breakfast we ate in New Zealand!
Top tips for travelling to Punakaiki
- Bring supplies. You are limited for food options in Punakaiki and if you are planning on cooking at your hostel, the nearest supermarket is in Westport or Greymouth, both of which are around a 40 minute drive.
- Similarly, if you are driving, make sure you have enough petrol because again, the nearest petrol stations are in Westport or Greymouth.
- Check the tides times, the blowholes are much more dramatic and exciting at high tide. You can find out more on the Met Service website.
Here’s a short video of the Pancake rocks and blowholes – enjoy!
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