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South Island Adventures: Explore the Wonders of Punakaiki

Escape to the salt-water paradise of coastal Punakaiki, an underrated hub with a rugged charm, packed with curiosities and activities for every age group to enjoy. Located four hours north-west of Christchurch, this gateway getaway serves as basecamp for avid explorers, laid-back families, adventurous couples and anybody seeking a holiday less frantic than those found in city spaces. Take two minutes to find out more about what to do in Punakaiki – the following may surprise even the most experienced New Zealand travellers.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, West Coast – Photo: Fraser Clements

See the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

As far as walks go, this one is easy. Spanning just twenty minutes in total, you’ll be able to enjoy the large limestone pancakes from the very best vantage points, taking care to stay on the track and heed any warnings on the pathway. Fashioned from microscopic pieces of dead marine life around 30 million years ago, the Pancake Rocks have been refined by wind, rain and seawater into the shapes you’ll see with your own eyes. Pictures don’t quite do high tide justice, as the waves come roaring in.

Trip Tip: Pair the Pancake Rocks Walk with another from the selection below and make it a day dedicated to savouring the great outdoors.

Stay Nearby: Punakaiki Resort

Paddle boarders at the Pororai River – Photo: GetNativeNZ

Paddle up the Pororai River

Journey into the tree-soaked interior of the Paparoa National Park, a short drive north of the Pancakes Rocks, for a wet and rollicking good time; even kids love this one. No rapids or big dips to worry about, just a relaxing canoe or kayak down the Pororai River, passing through a staggering limestone gorge, hemmed in by sprawling rainforest.

Trip Tip: Track down an all-inclusive supplier, saving space in your luggage for essentials and keepsakes.

Stay Nearby: Paparoa Park Motel

Punakaiki, West Coast – Photo: Fraser Clements

Take in the Sunset

The perfect end to a perfect day demands a spectacular sunset, a soft blanket and the silence of an untouched beach. Watch dusk roll in with the tide over Punakaiki Beach and take a moment to appreciate the wonders of the New Zealand West Coast.

Trip Tip: Save an extra day or two for further exploration – Paparoa National Park is teeming with walking trails for beginners, intermediates and serious striders.

Leave life behind for a while and enjoy a no-hassle holiday. Speak to one of our experienced reservation staff today and make you-time happen.


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