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Pancakes Rocks

Pancakes Rocks (New Zealand)

Practical information on Pancakes Rocks

  • Family
  • Relaxation
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Island
  • Viewpoint
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
2min by car from Punakaiki
When to go
All year round, at high tide
Minimum stay
Half a day

Reviews of Pancakes Rocks

Delphine Teisserenc Seasoned Traveller
46 written opinions

Situated on the west coast of South Island, Pancake Rocks is a geological wonder formed by marine deposits.

My suggestion:
High tide is the best time to go, so check out the times beforehand.
My review

New Zealand's west coast has a lot on offer and Pancakes Rock is both loud and dramatic. Since time immemorial, the tide has and continues to 'sculpt' these rocks, giving them their unusual appearance. The Tasman Sea floods natural caves with such a force that geysers explode and the noise is thunderous. As for their name...some believe it's because they resemble pancakes in the rocks, others believe it comes from the American prononciation of their indigenous name, 'Punakaiki'.

I loved the walk that overlooks the rocks. It has a great view of the formation, as well as the coast, which stretches along the horizon. You'll also see wekas, native chicken-sized birds that are particularly feisty!

As this is a tourist trap, I recommend you take your time and find a point where you can watch the spectacle and hear the crashing waves; this really is the most amazing, savage swimming pool.

Pancake Rocks
Floriane Seasoned Traveller
37 written opinions

An amazing geological phenomenon on the West Coast and a must see during a trip to New Zealand.

My suggestion:
I suggest you go there early in the morning or at the end of the day, when it's quieter.
My review

They are eroded, limestone formations made from dead marine life and sit among waves that crash onto their rocks. Throw in a menacing sky and you can't help but be amazed by the sight of the Pancake Rocks.

They fit in perfectly with the West Coast landscape that is lined with steep cliffs and wind swept beaches. I personally found Pancake Rocks spectacular. A 20 minute walk (often packed with tourists) will get you to the site. You can extend your walk by taking the Punakaiki-Pororari trail, which runs along the Pororari River. 

I equally enjoyed the walk to Truman Beach, which has its own share of astonishing rock formations. 

Be careful of the wekas on the Pancake Rocks' parking lot! They are flightless birds and excellent thieves. They won't hesitate to jump in your car and grab your glasses, your towel or any snack they find lying around...

Pancake Rocks
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