Walk around the curious limestone formations of pancake rocks and blowholes, formed 30 million years ago. Blowholes form from a mixture of compressed water and air escaping through the caverns below and being forced upwards, creating a huge wall of spray. They are at their best around high tide when there is a south-westerly swell.
3km north of the Punakaiki Visitor Centre is the Truman Track. Popular and easily accessible, the Truman Track offers the best of NZ nature all packed into one 30 minute return walk.
Fox River Market
In summer, a food and craft market unfolds in a jaw-dropping location beneath overhanging cliffs 12km north of Punakaiki (follow signs to Fox River car park). Offerings vary by vendor but you can expect Thai food, freshly baked cakes, and take-home treats like smoked cheese and kiwifruit relish. Ask locally about seasonal start dates.
Guided Horse Treks
Experience the majestic beauty of a limestone-cliff valley flanked with native rainforest, and ride along a rugged beach on horseback. Punakaiki Horse Treks offer guided horse treks up the Punakaki valley beside the Paparoa National Park, finishing with a stroll along the Punakaiki beach. Operating from October to May, in spring, summer and autumn, they run small-group trips as well as personalised treks to suit your abilities and interests.