This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Punakaiki. To help you make friends with Punakaiki before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Punakaiki is a very nice little town on the northern west coast of the south island of New Zealand. It's usually made up of a small population of locals who are quite friendly and eager to offer directions, tips, or whatever, but it fills up with tourists and passers-by during the summer months. The Punakaiki pancake rocks, located at the center of town, are a must-see for anyone coming through. If you come do the walk, which is about twenty minutes long (longer if you're stopping to take lots of pictures), it's not wheelchair-friendly the whole way around, but is mostly accessible. If you can, do the walk at high tide to see the spectacular blowhole spray water meters above the rocks. The information center will have high tide times posted. If you have the opportunity, plan your trip during spring tides for the best views of the blowholes.
There are not a ton of amenities in this town, so you're best off bringing what you need with you. Punakaiki hostels and accommodation are located about a kilometer from the pancake rocks, so anyone who arrives by bus (which stops right outside of the info center and cafe, and is directly across the street from the pancake rocks) can make it on foot if necessary. A river, which is occupied by several whitebaiters in the right season, is nearby as well, which provides a nice walk for those who are inclined. A great tavern is located near the main accommodations, where you can get cheap tasty snacks, or complete meals if that is what you're looking for. They also play all the rugby games there, and it seems as though the whole town shows up to see them.