Punakaiki Cavern

Pancake Rocks Cavern

a wooden staircase leading to the cave entrance.

Useful Information

Location: Punakaiki, north of Greymouth. 56 km from Westport, 88 km from Hokitika. From the Pancake Rocks (Visitor Center) follow the coast road to the north about 500 m. Signposted at the landward side of the road.
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. Oligocene limestone
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=138 m.
Guided tours: n/a
Address: Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre, 4294 Coast Road, Punakaiki, RD 1, Runanga 7873, Tel +64-3-731-1895, Fax +64-3-731-1888. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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view out of the entrance.
view out of the entrance.

This small cave is named after nearby Pancake Rocks, which are a famous tourist destination. These rocks are called Punakaiki by the native Maori. They are spectacular rocks formed by the waves in a thin bedded limestone. The thin layers of limestone, about two or three centimeters thick and more or less horizontal give the rocks a look like a stack of pancakes, hence the name.

This nearby cave is a karst cave, located in the same limestone. The limestone is karstified and there are numerous caves in this area.

This small cave is signposted by the Paparoa National Park. A wooden stair leads up onto the two-metre-high wall at the cave entrance. The cave itself is considered to be very easy to explore. However, a reliable light source, appropriate shoes and common sense are essential.