The morning after the attack of the bumblebees, wasps and sandflies we left as soon as we woke up, to avoid any further meetings with the swarms. We headed south towards the east coast and stopped by the road side to make a quick brekki, only to realise that the sandflies where still around us, but the bumble bees and wasps had at least eased off a little bit.
We drove through Westport, a small town near the coast, where we stopped to buy some much needed insect repellent. The staff at the pharmacy told us that they’ve had an infestation of bumblebees of late, as the summer had been so extremely dry and warm, as for the sandflies, they’re always the same.
The next stop on our list was Punakaiki, more known as The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Might sound funny, but it really is the best way to describe them, as these large rock formations really do look like giant stacks of pancakes. They are in fact limestone formations that formed some 30 million years ago, lime rich fragments of marine life were deposited on the seabed and then mixed with soft layers of mud and clay. The seabed was later raised by earthquakes and formed the coastal cliffline. Sea, wind and rain has for years worked together to shape these magnificent pancake rocks and I think they’ve done a pretty good job at it, they are incredible! It’s another one of New Zealands great natural tourist attractions. It has been very well developed with a paved walking path around the rocks and blowholes. The best time to go there is at high tide, when the sea pushes up through the blow holes and spurts out. Its a good idea to check the times in advance, but if you like us, didn’t have the chance to, its not the end of the world. We came just before the high tide and it was impressive enough I thought.
One little warning though, it does make you want pancakes, but luckily, there is a cafe by the parking lot that offers them!
To see more of the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, and in awesome 360 degrees, click here.