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Bizarre Landscapes: Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Bizarre Landscapes: Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Punakaiki is a major tourist attraction on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is here where you will find the unique and natural attraction that is the Pancake Rocks.

The Pancake Rocks are a rock formation in the Paparoa National Park on the South Island, located about 40km north of Greymouth. The Pancake Rocks are found right on the Tasman Sea and its name originates from the rocks that look like pancakes stacked on top of each other.

pancake rocks, punakaiki

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, New Zealand

The Pancake Rocks are actually a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea breaks through a series of vertical blowholes - water worn passages through which jets of sea water are forced in high seas - resulting in a geysers of sea spray often evident at high tides. Together with the “pancake” layering of the limestone – which is caused by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments – it makes for a very strange but yet beautiful surrounding.

Blowholes at Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Blowholes at Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

The Pancake Rocks are easily accessible with a short walk from the car park on the main road. They have the appearance of many large jagged pancakes stacked on top of each other.

Geographically, these rocks are about 30 million years old and the shape they are in today, have been carved by wind, sea water and acidic rain.

The coastal mountains of the Pancake Rocks is looped by a 15-minute trail. In addition, you can explore a fascinating surge pool at Devils Cauldron, admire the fabulous views of the Paparoa National Park coastline or see the blowholes in action.

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, New Zealand

Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Aoraki or Mt. Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) is sometimes visible in the distance and it is not uncommon to spy a pod of Hectors dolphin close to the rocks. Make sure to stopover at the Pancake Rocks as it makes  a great stopover for travellers to stretch their legs and enjoy this wonderful natural feature.

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