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Getting Here and Around
At first glance, Punakaiki looks like nothing more than a small cluster of beach houses and shops—a blip on the radar without even a gas station or ATM. It's worth stopping, though, for its famous Pancake Rocks—a maze of limestone stacked high above the sea, and an easy walk from the road. It is also the main entry point to the Paparoa National Park tracks and river activities. Punakaiki is roughly halfway along the coast between Greymouth and Westport on State Highway 6; 40 minutes north of Greymouth; and one hour south of Westport. The road is winding and steep in places, with high drop-offs to the coast on the stretch north of Punakaiki. InterCity buses and Atomic Shuttles pass through daily. Accommodations range from a DOC campground to holiday homes, B&Bs, and a resort-style hotel.
If you have a spare half hour, follow the Truman Track (just north of the village) down to the coast. It's a delightful walk through native bush to a dramatic coastal bay. There's also easy access to the coast from the beach in front of the Punakaiki Resort just south of the Pancake Rocks.
The Paparoa National Park Visitors Centre, across the road from the main gate to the Pancake Rocks, is a handy place to learn more about the formations and the park.
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