Aerial view of Pancake Rocks & Blowholes

Punakaiki walks

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes

PUNAKAIKI WALKS

Beyond the ever enthralling spectacle of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, there is another world of beautiful walks and hikes from quiet forest trails to sublime bays and river tracks.

Boots and all is the best way to experience Punakaiki and the Paparoa National Park. Listen to the rustle of the nikau palms beside a pretty beach, explore an underground cavern or try your legs on a section of New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, The Paparoa Track.

PANCAKE ROCKS / DOLOMITE POINT WALKWAY

Blowholes, spectacular limestone formations, ocean views

Nature’s dynamic forces are on full display at Punakaiki — the ultimate stop on the Great Coast Road, recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful coastal routes. Explore a curious limestone landscape of pancaked limestone rock formations, seething blowholes and surge pools.

  • 1.1 km | 20 min loop (plus viewing time)
  • Easy, all-weather, paved track, some steps
  • Suitable for wheelchairs with some assistance
Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
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TRUMAN TRACK

Subtropical rainforest, pretty coastal landscape

Emerge from a sub tropical rainforest of nīkau palms, vines and towering rātā on a spectacular coastline with cliffs, caverns, a blowhole, and a waterfall that plummets straight onto a rocky beach. 

  • 1.4 km | 30 min return
  • Easy walking

PUNAKAIKI CAVERN

Karst cavern with stalactites and glowworms

Close to Punakaiki village and beside the Great Coast Road, a set of wooden stairs leads down to Punakaiki Cavern. Take a torch, and look out for stalactites and glowworms along the 130 m of safe passages. 

  • 130 m of underground passages
  • Easy, fun for all ages
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Pororari River

PORORARI RIVER TRACK

Spectacular river gorge, limestone cliffs, suspension bridge

Test your legs out on a Great Walk — or, at least, a gentle section of the multi-day Paparoa Track. The Pororari River Track is a lovely rainforest walk beside a spectacular limestone gorge and an easy uphill climb to a swing bridge. 

  • 7 km | 1.5 hr return
  • Easy walking

PORORARI — PUNAKAIKI LOOP TRACK

Spectacular river valleys, limestone cliffs, mature rainforest

For a longer ‘Great Walk taster’ hike the Pororari River Track then continue on the loop route which links the Punakaiki and Pororari rivers. Highlights include the Pororari Gorge, an easy graded climb through rainforest and over the ridge dividing the two river valleys, and spectacular views. 

  • 11 km | 3 hr loop
  • Easy graded climb
Pororari River
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CAVE CREEK MEMORIAL TRACK / KOTIHOTIHO

Descent into a deep narrow chasm, stone memorial

The track crosses a ridge before descending to a narrow rocky gorge surrounded by luxuriant moss and overhanging trees, and Cave Creek as it emerges from beneath the rocks. The stone memorial near the entry to the track commemorates the 1995 Cave Creek tragedy.

  • 4 km | 1 hr 10 min return
  • Easy walking

PAPAROA TRACK, PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK

Alpine tussocks to coastal rainforest 

New Zealand’s newest multi-day Great Walk is a thrilling one-way east west alpine traverse between Blackball and Punakaiki. The trail crosses the Paparoa Range via tussock-covered hills, alpine tops and limestone karst landscapes to finish in lush coastal rainforests. 

  • 55 km | 3 days one way
  • Intermediate 
Paparoa Track