When driving around a country without a set itinerary, you often stumble upon things worth seeing. We happened upon the Punakaiki (say that three times fast) Pancake Rocks while heading down the west coast of the South Island, and even with the various tour buses crowding the place, it was a satisfactory pit stop.
The car park is a short 20-minute walk to various viewpoints looking out over the aptly named and bizarre-looking pancake rocks and the foamy ocean beyond. If your timing is good (per the tides), you’ll get a show, as water rushing beneath the rock formations builds pressure and creates small geysers.
It’s worth a stop to see rocks that are truly unique, even if you miss the geysers like we did. Plus, they serve pancakes at the gift shop.* -Laurel
*I cannot vouch for the quality of the Punakaiki pancakes. Only the rocks.