Punakaiki is located on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand's South Island at the edge of the Paparoa National Park. It is best known for the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, a must-see while visiting the West Coast.
With a subtropical climate, a spectacular coastline and lush rain forests, Punakaiki is filled with many natural wonders. You can choose from a large variety of things to do at Punakaiki from nature walks to kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and even horse-riding on the beach.
Punakaiki Beach & my experience
I visited Punakaiki beach with photographer and tour-guide Neil Silverwood with whom I had connected earlier for my trip to the West Coast. Neil is an acclaimed Kiwi photographer who won the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year Award in 2017. He is based on the West Coast.
I took the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth, and met Neil at the Greymouth railway station. We had a quick cup of coffee and decided to first visit the Pororari river in the Paparoa National Park, and catch sunset over the Punakaiki Beach and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.
I took the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth and met Neil at the Greymouth railway station. After a quick cup of coffee, we decided to go to the Pororari river in the Paparoa National Park, and then catch the sunset over the Punakaiki Beach and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. At the beach, Neil took out his drone, and we got some beautiful shots of the ocean as the sun went down.
Punakaiki offers a large variety of accommodation for just about everyone. You will find here upmarket boutique hotels, budget motels, rain forest retreats, private seaside havens as well as large campsites.
I stayed at the Charleston Lodge in Charleston that I found very good. The area is quiet, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. The hosts are nice and welcoming. They helped me check-in late around 10:30 p.m. and also left some milk for me in the refrigerator in my room. It cost me around NZ$135 for a single room. However, it is not a luxury lodge.