Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – a Rock n Roll Day in Punakaiki


With a full moon of late and wonderfully huge swells and tides we headed up to Punakaiki to check out the blowhole action at the Pancake Rock walk.

pancake rocks punakaiki

It was a drizzly start to the morning but not particularly cold so armed with our rain jackets and just a little bit of camera equipment (!!??) we headed off on the walk around the rocks.

We were pretty sure we were going to be slightly too late for any real blowhole action as we couldn’t get away from home until right on high tide and the best time for blowhole action is usually about 1 hour before high tide as you need the pressure of the surf to be pushing the swell in.

surging waters pancake rock walk punakaiki

Well as it turns out, it didn’t matter.  The swell was good enough and big enough that even on full tide and outgoing tide there was still plenty of rock n roll action happening.

chimney pot pancake rocks walk punakaiki

chimney pot blowhole pancake rock walk

Chimney pot blowhole was working the best I’ve ever seen it perform.  Luckily the wind was blowing back out to the sea otherwise those coming across the bridge would have got soaked – bit of a shame really  ha-ha.

surge pool pancake rock walk punakaikki

surge pool punakaiki pancake rocks

Then there is the surge pool – talk about mesmerizing, felt like could stand and watch this for hours.  It was awesome – the power of the surf is a wonderful thing and I’m just glad to be watching from above.  It seems like you’re watching the inside of a washing machine – our poor clothes, they do take quite the tumble! Not to name names at all but someone with a camera was very taken with it……

blowholes pancake rock walk punakaiki

punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes

Then it was round to the main event.  It was a matter of just biding our time to get the right swell come through to push the water out for this blowhole action.  Definitely worth waiting for.  I was hooting and hollering at the spectacle but others seemed more content with just watching – boring!

monsters lookout pancake rock walk

surging water monsters lookout pancake rock walk

The pancake rock walk is a lovely walk in its own right out around the rocks and cliffs taking you on a nice loop.  The blowholes are to the south and then around to the north you have what I call the Monster lookout.  A rocky outcrop with shapes in the rocks resembling monsters and other creatures – if you look hard enough and use your imagination.  Mine can be quite warped so I really enjoy this spot.  Great for capturing the pounding surf as it breaks against the rocks too.

punakaiki coastline pancake rock walk

It may have been a bit of a grey old day but I always advise our guests that for the blowholes to be working in all their glory it can be a weather trade-off.  If you have bright sunny skies chances are you’ll also have calmer seas and not much of a swell.  There is always a positive spin to stormy or rainy weather – it is just weather at the end of the day, you don’t melt and as one of our guests once said to me “no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing” so don’t let the weather stop you getting out and enjoying the sights – you never know what you might be missing otherwise.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  The Great Coast Road has been named one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet with the West Coast named as a top 10 region to visit in the world by Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel.

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
This entry was posted in beaches, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – a Rock n Roll Day in Punakaiki

  1. bulldog says:

    Love the share?. And very glad a certain photographer was in his element as the captures show a beautiful spot, but also he can be referred to as a photographer of note…

  2. aFrankAngle says:

    Just over from Bulldog and his trash-talking about your favorite rugby team … stunning photos!

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