One of New Zealand’s most famous natural wonders, the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are a deservingly popular stop on the West Coast. Up until Covid hit their popularity was getting somewhat out of control, but the natural beauty remained. The heavily eroded limestone rock formations get their distinctive pancake effect from the layering of hard and softer rock.
State Highway 6 literally drives past them, they’re 40 mins north of Greymouth. I’ve visited Punakaiki four times, and the rocks six times, at the time of writing. Twice I stayed the night to be able to see them at different times of day. Most of these photos from my most recent trip in October 2021 when late afternoon the sun was shining for once. Weather on the West Coast is notoriously variable…
After a short walk through the bush the first few lookouts gives an idea of what is in store.
There is a rather cool bridge creating a loop around the furthest parts of the rocks.
The largest area of decking provides the most iconic views of the rocks.
The surge pool can be seen from a number of angles.
The final lookout is one of the best, back toward the mainland.
To finish with last visit I made at high tide before a huge storm hit. This was quite a difference experience, with impressive sea spray from waves crashing again the rocks.