- Beach / Seaside Resort
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.
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...