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Punakaiki - The Pancake Rocks

The drive from Hokitika to Punakaiki takes about an hour but we recommend you slow down and enjoy the journey. There are so many beaches, nooks and crannys you may want to take the whole day – and make sure you have your camera. You could stop at Rapahoe Beach for a swim. 

The main highway called The Great Coast Road between Westport and Greymouth has been named one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet. Your drive to Punakaiki takes you on the very best part of this road.

Punakaiki is an amazing place to visit in any weather. Of course it is beautiful when it is warm and sunny but the blow holes are at their most impressive when the sea is up and the wind is blowing.

punakaiki coastline

When you reach Punakaiki and have walked around the blow hole area, you may also want to do the Truman Track walk. It is a short walk and definitely worth the extra time.

Top Tips

  • There are two ways you can do this trip. 
  • 1.   You can be up and back in around 3 hours. Drive up, take the walk around and drive back. A great half-day experience.
  • 2.   Make it a full day outing. Pack a picnic lunch or grab a bite on the way. Take your time on the drive, stopping at the many laybys  and take a walk on one of the beaches. Visit the information centre in Punakaiki and take your time on the walk. Then head on up and also do the Truman Track walk (I highly recommend it). 

  • Take a raincoat even if it is sunny as you may get wet near the blow holes.
  • The drive up is truly stunning. The road is winding and it is easy to get distracted by the views. PLEASE take care and KEEP LEFT. If you want to look at the view, pull off the road at a safe place using your indicator so drivers know what your plan is. When you pull back out onto the road, make sure you are in the correct lane.