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Punakaiki Pancake

Rocks guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks


Layered, pancake rock formations on the coast


15 mins walk from parking



Best time to visit: golden hour/sunset and high tide for the blow hole

Jandals suitable


  • Coordinates of the trail: -42.114124, 171.326444

  • Coordinates of parking: -42.114554, 171.330174

  • Park in the carpark and follow the marked track (it’s a 1.1km loop).

 best time to visit? 

  • When sunset coincides with high tide!

  • We believe the evening golden light right through to sunset gives the best light, and high tide means the blowholes are in action and any shots with water through the gorge/gap look will better.

 cj travel tips 

  • Arrive early and walk the entire loop first looking at all the different angles. Then go back to where you think looked the best! It can be a little overwhelming here, so allow yourself some time to scope! We personally preferred the first section of the walk and where the blow hole is. 

  • Be prepared for lots of people here as it's always very busy!

 cj photography tips 

  • We find the pancake rocks one of the hardest spots in New Zealand to photograph. Mostly because your vantage points are limited to the track/path and it’s hard to create depth in your shots. 

  • A panorama is a good option here to balance the rocks, ocean and sky in your frame.

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc.) we found the following items useful:

  • windproof jacket. For some reason this walk always seems super windy haha.

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