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Day walks

Punakaiki (pancake) rocks & Pororari River loop track – West Coast

  • 2 minutes

West Coast, South Island


  • Sample PAPAROA GREAT WALK on this entry / exit day walk of approximately 7 km
  • Limestone gorges and cliffs dropping down to tea coloured Pororari River crystal clear water
  • Spring flowering rata with feeding kereru (wood pigeons)
  • Enjoy watching kayakers leisurely explore the river
  • There are numerous side paths (unofficial) to river beaches where you can relax and take in the scenery
Punakaiki, New Zealand

A 15-minute gentle stroll from the car park brings you to a seat and a lookout, with spectacular views of the river gorge and its magnificent limestone cliffs. From this point on, the track narrows and the gradients become a little steeper. This area is subject to rock falls so don’t linger in this section.


The following section is more challenging as the track joins the Paparoa Great Walk. The views on this section are not as spectacular as the first 7 km. Consider looping back to return to the carpark and the Punakaiki Visitor Centre area.

  • The track will continue for another 2.5 km until it meets the Inland Pack Track. Five minutes beyond this junction, following beside the river, the track leads to a suspension bridge – an ideal place for a rest and a photo stop before retracing your steps back to the car park.

For the more adventurous, the Paparoa Great Walk continues upstream of the Pororari suspension bridge with the Paparoa hut a further 3-4 hrs up the track. For tips on recommended clothing and supplies check South Island ultimate day walks, what to wear, supplies and fitness required. Remember to check the local weather report before departing. For track details check the Department of Conservation, Pororari River tracks.

Punakaiki rocks, New Zealand
Punakaiki rocks
Pancake Rocks Cafe, Punakaiki, New Zealand
Pancake Rocks Cafe, Punakaiki


On your return to the car park (Pororoa River) turn left and within 15 minutes the distinctive building Punakaiki Visitor Centre will indicate you have arrived at the entrance to the World-class short walk around the pancake rock formation.

  • Length: 7 km / 11 km / 15 km
  • Duration: Easy to advanced walking grade


Need a break?

Try Punakaiki Rocks Cafe with pancakes as a menu highlight and enjoy. Lashing of cream, syrup and bacon, you’ve earned it.


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