Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Walk

Details about the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk, at Dolomite Point in the Paparoa National Park New Zealand, can be found on an information board opposite the car park and cafes, on the other side of the road.

The board is where the walk starts and the map will show you where everything is on the track.

There is a map shown below.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Geology, Limestone and Colours
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Geology, Limestone and Colours, West Coast, Paparoa National Park, New Zealand

You will be walking along a paved loop track that leads to the rocks and you can go in which direction you please, returning the same way or completing the walk as a loop.

Pancake Rocks Walk Time

Sea Erroded Limestone Pancake Rocks Stack with Native Flora, Dolomite Point, Punakaiki
Sea Erroded Limestone Pancake Rocks stack with native flora growing on the rocks at Dolomite Point, Punakaiki, West Coast, New Zealand

The length of the track is 0.40kms.

It only takes around twenty minutes to walk to the Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point from the start of the track at the roadside.

Allow an hour to walk to the rocks, stop to look at the blowholes etc., and return to the roadside. You can of course take longer but one hour is good for planning if you have limited time.

Accessibility, safety, and environmental advice provided below.

View down the South Island West Coast from Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Track
View down the South Island West Coast from Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Track, New Zealand

Best Time to Visit Pancake Rocks

High tide times are the best time to walk to the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

To see the impressive blowholes going off at their best, go when there is a south westerly or westerly swell along with the high tide.

A moonlight walk is an exceptional experience here. So if the tide times and weather conditions are right, I recommend it.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Walk Map

Pancake Rocks Track, Blowhole, and Surge Pool
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Walk track map showing direction, blowholes, and surge pool locations. South Island, New Zealand

Pancake Rocks Wildlife and Birds

On my last visit I was lucky enough to see Hector’s Dolphins playing in the surf at Pancake Rocks, and a couple of seals in the water. I also saw Petrels, and quite a few Spotted Shag and White Fronted Tern that particularly seem to like sitting on the rocks.

Spotted Shag (Spotted Cormorant) resting on West Coast Pancake Rocks
Spotted Shag, Spotted Cormorant, resting on Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Tara, the White Fronted Terns, breed on the rocks from October to January.

Kekeno, New Zealand fur seals, can often be seen either in the sea or basking on the rocks of this coastline.

Environment and Safety

Due to the extreme fragility of the rocks, plants, and wildlife, please keep to the path as instructed on the information board.

There are guard rails that indicate you should not cross them, for your safety and to protect this precious environment from damage.


The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk has an all-weather loop track.

The optional additional short walk has steps that may become a bit slippery in wet weather.


The loop track is wheelchair friendly with assistance and accessible to all. It is well maintained and there are barriers alongside to prevent people from falling off. Children will love this place but must be watched and kept on the track at all times, especially in high winds or rain.

There is an additional short track that is not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs as it has steps and is narrow.


Dogs are not allowed on the walk to Pancake Rocks, or in any part of the Paparoa National Park. This is for the protection of native wildlife such as flightless birds.


Mountain bikes are not allowed on the walk or in Paparoa National Park.


For more information about the science behind the formation of these rocks go to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

Information Board - Nature’s Last Secrets
Punakaiki Pancake Rocks information board - Natures Last Secrets of how pancake rocks were formed

Information Board - Nature’s Last Secrets

“In an age when it seems as if everything has been explained, nature hangs on to a few mysteries. The Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki are among them.

Scientists know the rocks are limestone, formed under the sea 35 million years ago by fragments of marine organisms. What they cannot quite fathom is precisely how the rocks came to be in layers.

Explore some possible theories with us as you journey around the rocks.

View the natural limestone shapes, created by geological processes over millions of years.

Listen to the lap, slap or boom of the sea, wind or rain, sculpting the pancakes of Punakaiki.”

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Walk Directions and Map

The walk to see the famous limestone pancake rocks and blowholes at Dolomite Point can be found at Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park, West Coast, South Island. The walk is right on the side of the West Coast highway SH6, just 44km from Greymouth, and 57km from Westport.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes - Paparoa National Park - West Coast Region - National Parks