Witness the weird water-sculptured wonders of ‘Limestone Country’ on the wild West Coast of New Zealand.

Paparoa National Park lies midway between Westport and Greymouth, centred on the small coastal settlement of Punakaiki. This region has the finest scenery on the West Coast. At Dolomite Point, limestone outcrops have weathered to form the bizarre Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. When high tides coincide with westerly swells, seawater surges into caverns beneath the pancake-like rock stacks, and spurts skywards in the form of spectacular geysers.

The Punakaiki visitor centre is 1 km south of the Pancake Rocks on the main road. A visit here will introduce you to intriguing limestone landscapes and great opportunities for recreation such as; tramping, caving, canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, bird watching, fishing and hunting. A short kayak trip on the Pororari River, for example, is a source of fun and fascination.

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Start with the easy coastal walks, including a visit to the world’s only nesting area for the rare Westland black petrel. Take a good torch into the more accessible caves behind Punakaiki, and consider a guided tour of the deeper cave systems like the Aranui Cave. There are two overnight tramps, which open up the wild heartland of the Paparoa Range. The Inland Pack Track is a 2 day journey following a goldminer’s route dating back to 1867. The Croesus Track is also a 2 day trek penetrating deep into limestone country through the historic goldmining areas that lie between Blackball and Barrytown.

The inland areas have luxuriant lowland forest with fine examples of New Zealand’s towering rimu, rata and miro trees and a dense understorey of tree ferns, vines and the subtropical nikau palm. The morning chorus of the tui and bellbird are a delight, and sometimes at night you can hear the sharp whistle of the great spotted kiwi.

Remember that the Pancake Rocks are only a taste of the diverse natural attractions of Paparoa. Travel inland and be prepared for many surprises.

By | 2014-08-10T21:59:44+00:00 February 17th, 2014|National Parks|0 Comments

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Danny de Hek
Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people. My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch. My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

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