Wide-eyed travellers stand at the rail awaiting the moment of truth. A huge wave surge pounds its way through the bizarre rock stacks and into a honeycomb of limestone fissures and caverns. Suddenly, a waterspout erupts with a hiss and a roar, sending a column of water high into the air.

The pancake-like columns of rock are drenched in spray, highlighting the curious stylobedding process that weathers these layers of limestone seabed strata, stripping off the softer, less compacted areas, to leave the tottering towers.

Punakaiki, is named from the Maori words ‘puna’ for a spring (blowholes) and ‘Kaika’ meaning ‘to be in a heap’ (pancake rocks). The small holiday resort is midway between Westport and Greymouth and is backed by the immensely intriguing limestone region called Paparoa National Park. Punakaiki, not only has a good swimming beach, a rarity on the West Coast, but also has some of the coast’s finest scenery.

Bus Pass New Zealand

Punakaiki has numerous other attractions, which are less well known. Local coastal walks hold the promise of dolphin sightings and also a close-up view of the rare Westland black petrel, in its one and only nesting area. Interesting longer tramps include the 30 km Inland Pack Track along an old miner’s route established in 1867 to avoid the rugged coastal route. The Croesus Track is a full day tramp over the Paparoa Range from Blackball to Barrytown, passing historic gold-mining relics.

The West Coast is a very scenic 600 km long strip of land between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. ‘Coasters’ are interesting people who enjoy a yarn and identify very closely with the outdoors. In Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika, you can sense the special ‘frontier town’ atmosphere, learn about the colourful colonial past and watch the local treasure ‘pounamu’ (greenstone or jade) being fashioned into jewellery and ornaments.

For an intriguingly ‘different’ holiday experience the Coast has a lot of appeal, and Punakaiki’s weird wonders are an absolute ‘must.’

By | 2016-11-26T18:57:49+00:00 August 25th, 2014|Scenic Highlights|0 Comments

About the Author:

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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