Tourism West Coast - Pancake Rocks (8).jpg Tourism West Coast - Pancake Rocks (8).jpg


Pancake Rocks, blowholes, vast scenery all from the Great Coast Road, one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world.


One of top 10 coastal drives in the world

The Great Coast Road is one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet and we just use it for our everyday travel!

It takes you alongside the ancient limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park and is home to the world's smallest penguin.

Along the way, experience underground rafting at Charleston, caving at Fox River and you won't want to miss the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki.

The Great Coast Road (which takes 90 minutes at a full speed, we recommend you slow down and enjoy it) traverses Charleston, Fox River, Punakaiki, Barrytown, Rapahoe and Runanga on its way from Westport to Greymouth.

Check the weather in Punakaiki on

Getting to Punakaiki

Find out time and distance from Punakaiki to other locations:

Places to visit on The Great Coast Road

Between Charleston and Fox River

Charleston is not far south of Westport and once boasted a gold mining population of 5,000 and more pubs than permanent houses.

The village is now better known for its extensive limestone caves and the Nile River.

The sheltered beach at Constant Bay is a great place to picnic with the kids and the walks to Constant and Joyce Bays give great coastal views.

For the adventurous, there are guided caving tours from eco-tours into a glowworm cave to full on adventure caving.

The Tiropahi Tram mountain bike track is a great mixed grade ride and the Tiropahi Walk visits an old bush tramway. Charleston is also a place for those who like rock climbing with routes bolted on the cliff faces.

To Learn about Charleston history, visit the Mitchells Gully Gold Mine or the two pioneer cemeteries. Or you can read more about the many historical sites on the West Coast.

Fox River is north of Punakaiki and is the start of a very interesting track to the Fox River Cave and the impressive Ballroom Overhang. Take a torch for the caves.

Two historic places of interest at Fox River are the Fox River Bridge and Te Ana o Matuka, a sea cave occupied by early travelers.


Punakaiki is a small village located near Paparoa National Park and home to the world famous Pancake Rocks

The 20 minute loop track to Dolomite Point gives the best views of the 30 million year old limestone formations.

There are many artists that have been attracted to the wild coast. There is a cafe, pub, dining and accommodation in Punakaiki.

Just to the north of Punakaiki it is worth stopping to do the easy (30 minutes return) Truman Track that meanders through native bush to the beach giving you a close up view of limestone rock formations.

The impressive blowholes are at their best at high tide – ask at the Paparoa National Park i-SITE about the tide times.

There are several other walks in the Punakaiki area and Paparoa National Park. The Pororari River Walk can take from 15 minutes to 2-hours depending on how far you go.

It follows a spectacular limestone gorge or you can continue along a portion of the Inland Pack Track to do a 3-hour loop back to Punakaiki.


Barrytown was once a centre for flax harvesting but its claim to fame these days is knife-making.

Over a day you can make your own hand forged knife from red-hot steel and native timber – no experience needed!

This unique activity gets rave reviews so it is not-to-miss!

Rapahoe is a small coastal settlement on the edge of a truly picturesque beach. You can access one end of the Point Elizabeth Walk from here.

The 2-hour walk has great views of the coastline and a large section follows an old goldmining water-race.

For other scenic walks see the best walking and hiking tracks on the West Coast.


Runanga is where the roots of West Coast coal mining run deep.

The Coal Creek Falls Walkway leads to a gorgeous fan waterfall with a great pool.

Or if you have a taste for mud, think about stopping for Off road biking, go karting or a Haglund ride

The Miners Hall here is a well known historic place in Runanga and worth a stop.



07 May 2021
Tāiko Festival - Return of the Westland Petrel Festival

Celebrating the return of the Westland Petrel from South America to Punakaiki once a year to breed.

Learn more

See, do & stay

DJI_0096.jpg Paparoa Beach Hideaway

Sink into an indulgent holiday with loved ones and friends in privacy and seclusion. Offering cedar hot tub set amongst native bush with sunset on the sea views.

Learn more
Punakaiki Beachfront.JPG Punakaiki Beachfront Motels

Relax in comfort at Punakaiki’s friendliest motel and rental house accommodation and enjoy by the seashore located between Paparoa National Park and the Tasman Sea.

Learn more
Eat & Drink
Punakaiki Beachfront.JPG The Rusty Cup Cafe

Best in the West coffee, pancakes, bacon/egg butties, plus so much more! Great banter and local information.

Learn more
Campervan Canoe Creek overnight campervan parking

Self-contained vehicles only.

Learn more
See & Do
Group Volunteers w Kurt.JPG Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project

Book in to support and volunteer at our Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project with Conservation Volunteers New Zealand and Wild Heart Project. With your help, we are transforming a former farm and mining site into a native rainforest!

Learn more
Hydrangea Cottages Hydrangea cottages

Hydrangea cottages are bordered by the Paparoa National Park and surrounded by native bush, wild hydrangea’s and huge limestone outcrops.

$250 - $970
Learn more