Hokitika and Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Pancake rocks in Punakaiki in New Zealand

Hokitika and Pancake Rocks, New Zealand

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. Todays post is all about our journey from Franz Josef Glacier up to Hokitika and then onto Punakaiki. Which is where we visited Pancake Rocks and then back down through Arthur’s Pass.


The day we drove to Hokitika and the day we were there was the worst rain I have ever experienced in my life! The sky was literally chucking buckets of water at us. Luckily we didn’t have to spend too much time outside as our mission when we were in Hokitika was to find Sam a Jade necklace. 

Hokitika is famous for its Jade jewellery and there are a lot of shops to choose from! We asked around and went to a smaller local shop as a lot of the big shops don’t actually make the jewellery themselves and/or the Jade actually isn’t from New Zealand. Hunting for the right necklace took us most of the day so we luckily got to avoid the rain. Well looking around the town we also stumbled on a glass studio which was incredible. I actually ended up buying a gift for my Mum there which luckily got home in one piece!

The second day in Hokitika we drove up to Hokitika Gorge pictured opposite, which was a short walk around the gorge. After that we carried on our journey up to Punakaki to see Pancake Rocks. The drive up motorway 6 is incredibly scenic as the road follows along the coast. 

Sam Gill on rock at Hokitika Gorge in Ne Zealand
Pancake rocks in Punakaiki in New Zealand
Pancake rocks in Punakaiki in New Zealand

Pancake rocks

Pancake Rocks were formed 30 million years ago from fragments of dead marine creatures and plants on the seabed. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify into hard and soft layers. Gradually earthquakes lifted the limestone to above the seabed and rain and seawater sculpted them into their strange shape today.

Pancake Rocks for me looked almost fake, it kind of looked like the type of plastic rocks you would see at Disney world. There is a lovely path around the rocks which allows you to get up close and experience some crazy blow holes. In Punakaiki there are also many walks and caves to explore. We did the Pororari river track which took a few hours and explored Punakaiki Cavern which not going to lie I found a bit scary!

Arthur’s Pass

We then headed back down motorway 6 and made our way through Arthur’s Pass. We visited the Devils Punchbowl waterfall and Castle Hill where you can go caving which we didn’t. I discovered I was not a fan of caving… I think it’ the dark enclosed space.

Other posts

Please check out my other posts on the south island of New Zealand: Wanaka, Haast Pass and Glaciers, Queenstown and Glenorchy, Doubtful Sound, Moeraki boulders and Nugget Point, Mount Sunday, Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook and Kaikoura.

Lots of love, Melissa x

Video credit – Sam Gill

the devil's punchbowl waterfall in Arthur's Pass, New Zealand

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