10 Things to Do in Punakaiki That You Shouldn't Miss

July 30, 2017 Mikaela Didonna

Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. The community lies on the edge of the Paparoa National Park.
Restaurants in Punakaiki

1. Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk

State Highway 6, Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk

Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip.

Reviewed By JonathanSymonds - Marazion, United Kingdom

This attraction , whilst being set in beautiful coastal surroundings and with an attractive boardwalk and tropical garden leading to it, is a bit of a five minute wonder in our opinion! The pancake rocks are interesting, and in fairness we didn’t see the blowholes at high tide, but I wouldn’t recommend making a special trip here. You can certainly see all you need to in a half hour visit.

2. Truman Track

State Highway 6 | Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
65%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 249 reviews

Truman Track

Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip.

Reviewed By 8623PaulineS - Bay of Plenty Region, New Zealand

This is one of the 'must do' track on the West Coast between Greymouth and Westport - just a couple of kms North of the Punakaiki Visitor Centre. The well formed track leads from the road down to the beach through Nikau dominated forest, interspersed with big native trees (Matai, Rimu, Miro, Rata). As you come down to the beach there are a number of platforms to take in the eroded beach either side of the track. Make your way into the bay on the right to experience more beach related formations, a waterfall and a quite active marine life. Best time of the day is late afternoon as you then get the full sunlight into the Bay and bluffs around the sea. And don't forget to take the insect repellant. Unless it is very windy the beasties will easily get to you wherever there is a bit of exposed skin.

3. Punakaiki Horse Treks

State Highway 6, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand +64 3-731 1839
Excellent
96%
Good
2%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 67 reviews

Punakaiki Horse Treks

Reviewed By J T - Cologne, Germany

I did the 3 hour trek for 180$ and it was worth every cent! Marianne was a great guide who knew and told us a lot about the nature and the horses (they are rescued former racing horses - all very well behaved). The trek leads along and through the river, the forest and the beach. We were a small group of 4 riders. I even got the chance to go for a canter along the beach, which was absolutely amazing!

4. Pororari River Track

State Highway 6 | Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 62 reviews

Pororari River Track

Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip.

Reviewed By johnboydunedin - Christchurch, New Zealand

Well maintained walking track along the river. Great views. Fantastic wildlife - including a sun bathing dragonfly. Around every corner you are met with a surprise. Be it full of glimpses of the spectacular clear river, people canoe paddling, or the clever people sunbathing and swimming on a hot day. Perfect.
Well maintained track. Bridges, cave, rock steps. It is not flat, there are parts that rise up.
This is a spot for everyone, nature lovers, photographers, bathers, walkers, picnickers.
It is well worth a stop to stretch your legs. The walk also continues on up the hill and around, through a couple of suspension Bridges to the bottom end or Greymouth end of Punakaiki.
Car park.
Bring a hat, repellent. And have good shoes. Also have some fluids.
Now go off and enjoy and see how you will be surprised.

5. Punakaiki Canoes

1 km north of Punakaiki on main road, Punakaiki, New Zealand
Excellent
88%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 47 reviews

Punakaiki Canoes

Reviewed By Christine1324 - Culverden, New Zealand

I’ve been on many kayaking trips and this was by far the most spectacular. I went on a clear, sunny day (a rarity on the West Coast) and it was absolutely beautiful kayaking up river, and fun paddling with the river on the way down. You have to get out and pull occasionally when it gets shallow but that was quite refreshing on a warm day. The host was very friendly and the price very reasonable. I was also happy to be able to go by myself (as I was travelling alone) - I know some companies wouldn’t let you do this because of health and safety etc. Definitely recommend!

6. Punakaiki Cavern

State Highway 6 | Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
30%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
23%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 72 reviews

Punakaiki Cavern

Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip.

Reviewed By kasejason - Chicago, Illinois

Punakaiki Cavern makes for a nice addition to a visit to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. If you are waiting for the tide to come in and need to kill some time, or if you just want something else to do in the area, just head north from the visitor's center via a walkway on the east side of the road. The road will curve downhill and you will soon come to a sign for the cavern.
When you first enter, there is an obvious path that leads you straight into the cave. If you bring a flashlight and head to the back, you will come to a small waterfall and the path will become too narrow to continue. We saw many people reach this point and then turn around, not realize that there's more cave to explore. Head back out towards the light and head uphill to the right. You will soon find yourself in another chamber that can be explored further. Make sure to turn off your lights when you're in the deepest parts of the cave so that you can look for glow worms.
All in all, our visit in the cave lasted about 20 minutes. If you're looking for a true caving adventure, this location will not satisfy you. If you go in with the expectation of just a quick visit, then you will likely enjoy yourself. It is possible to explore this cave without getting wet/ muddy, but you will need to take care. The floor and walls are quite moist and anything contacting them will become quite dirty. You probably don't need a helmet to visit this cave, but you'll want to be mindful of the ceiling in places where it gets low.
If you've got a little time to spare and are at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, you might as well check out this cavern. Bring a flashlight or two and just explore as far as you are comfortable with.

7. Paparoa National Park Visitor Information Centre

4294 Coast Road | Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
59%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 35 reviews

Paparoa National Park Visitor Information Centre

Reviewed By Elizabeth B - ohio

Took the time to listen to what we wanted to do and make good ideas and suggestions- can't be easy after hearing the same question a thousand times! Gave clear directions Lots of good maps (some free) and relevant literature

8. Fox River Cave Walk

State Highway 6, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, Punakaiki, New Zealand +64 3-731 1895
Excellent
44%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
7%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 14 reviews

Fox River Cave Walk

Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip.

Reviewed By Bomshanka - Coffs Harbour, Australia

Most walks in NZ give return times this one no it's one way. It stated 1hr 15min but really it took us 90min. (one way)
This was a fantastic walk none the less.
It's moderate grade, therefore you need to be aware that this walk has muddy tracks, climbing up and down rocks. The last 200 metres is a climb up wet slippery rocks.
So you need hiking boots or decent shoes. Prepare to end up on your bum at times as all in our group of 5 did.
There are some creek crossings along the way other times you need to leave the track to go around rather large puddles
DON'T FORGET YOUR TORCH. If you are going to walk the distance take a torch (each) to enjoy the cave at the end.
Basically have the right gear, torch, boots, water and snack for this one

9. Petrel Colony Tours

3770 State Highway 6 Coast Road, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 5 reviews

Petrel Colony Tours

Guided tours to the worlds only breeding grounds of the Westland Petrel (Procellaria westlandica), the largest Mainland burrow-nesting petrel. Close views can be obtained from our walkway and viewing shelter located 5 km south of Punakaiki, West Coast NZ. Viewing from 1 April to 20 December.

Reviewed By serpentine2014 - Greymouth, New Zealand

We were a group of 13 people - adults and teenage children and partners. We visited the petrel colony in late November. We picked a beautiful calm and clear night which was also great for star gazing! The petrels are birds that are something like...MoreThanks for your review and great to see so much enthusiasm for the lost petrel. I rated the fledgling activity during your visit at 10/10.

10. Punakaiki Crafts & Cafe Nikau

4296 Coast Road | Right Opposite The Pancake Rocks Iconic Walk Punakaiki, Punakaiki 7873, New Zealand +64 3-731 1813

Welcome to our Iconic Gallery and Barista Coffee Bar where we sell a fabulous range of our World Famous Manuka Honey which is exported Internationally. We have a Post Office so can send your purchases anywhere in the world and resupply you with our Manuka Honey range. Our famous Sublime Barista Coffee,fresh cakes,Top class Icecream and cold drinks.

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