Here is a wee list of our 6 Must Do’s for your time in Punakaiki, have a read through and you might find the perfect post or pre Great Walk activities!
Stand Up Paddleboard Tours
Paddle boarding up the Pororari River is at the top of the list! Dion from ‘Get Native’ at the Punakaiki Beach Camp offers incredible Stand Up Paddle Board tours once a day. The two hour tour takes you through the mystical Pororari river and around the lagoon! Our number 1 Must Do in PunakaikI!
New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Half Day Walk
Having just completed the Paparoa Track you will have already done some of this loop track, the other half will take you along the Inland Pack Track. A must do 3 hour loop!
When the Pororari River Track junction is reached, it is worth carrying on along the Inland Pack Track for a short distance to the Pororari River, a perfect place for a rest and something to eat. Return to the junction and then follow the Inland Pack Track to the Punakaiki River to the car park on SH6. From there it is a 1km walk south along SH6. to the Visitor Centre.
Suitable footwear should be worn to complete the track, and you should allow 3 hours.
The track begins in the beautiful sub-tropical rainforest of ferns, nikau palms, rimu, etc. Nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast coastal flax flats before emerging onto a coastal headland with stunning views up and down the local coastline.
A stairway leads down on the north side of the headland to a fine gravel beach featuring cliffs, caves, a waterfall and amazing rock formations. The beach is accessible at low tide where you can walk north and further explore the rugged coastline. Truman Track at low tide offers rock pools for the whole family to enjoy.
Allow approximately an hour return, to fully explore the track and the beach.
Pancake Rocks walkway is a loop track that winds from the main road, through the native rainforest and into flax and coastal vegetation as it nears the rugged coastline.
The blowholes, the main attraction of the walkway, are active at high tide – check in at the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre for times. When a heavy sea swell is running, saltwater is pushed at great force through holes in the limestone rock, exiting as a fine spray mist many meters above sealevel. The blowholes at full blast are an amazing sight.
Allow approximately 45 minutes to explore and take photographs.
Five minutes walk north from the campground is the Punakaiki Cavern, hidden away on the eastern side of the main road. Car parking is available on the sea-side of the road, slightly north of the cavern. Take care when crossing the road.
The cavern features glow worms, the larvae of a large mosquito-like fly. In order to survive they build traps consisting of vertical hanging threads of silk. The silk thread is studded with sticky droplets of mucous to catch small insects that are attracted by the light. In actual fact they are not worms at all.
There are also stalactites in the cavern, formed when calcium carbonate and other minerals, drip from the cavern ceiling over time, eventually creating hanging formations tapering down to pointed tips, resembling solid cones.
Right next to the Beach Camp you will find the Pororari Lagoon. A beautiful 30 minute walk. Best around sunset will allow dramatic views up into the Paparoa National Park and out to Dolomite Point.
“The boot”, an interesting sandstone rock at the river mouth is always great to watch the waves crashing up and around.
We hope this list gives you and idea of all the amazing things to do here in Punakaiki!
See you soon
Jed and the Team