Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Opening dates for new Paparoa Visitors Centre!

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Locals will have noticed a hive of activity, and some long working days, as the new front building (Experience Centre) nears completion. It is now expected to be ready to move in late April. This will trigger the demolition, removal, and final landscaping arrangements of the existing DOC Visitor Centre next door. DOC staff are fully involved in these arrangements. When this work is concluded (scheduled for mid-June), there will be a formal opening of this stage of the project.

Green roof The green roof of the new visitor centre is now in place and thriving. Sharon Langridge and the CVNZ team propagated and grew on all these plants, in special plant trays to facilitate drainage, and avoid erosion and slippage on the sloping roof. 

Progress on Exhibition Centre [back building]
This building,  tucked behind the new Visitor Centre, is well underway. It will also have a green roof and the plants are growing on strongly in preparation for this. Gibson Group – the exhibition designer – is active again, finalising the exhibition content for this space.

Installation of the exhibition is scheduled to start in May, as soon as the Exhibition building is completed by Naylor Love, and is due for completion by November this year.

Dion Findlay and his team made a splendid job of placing and installing these, under considerable pressure, impressing everyone who saw them in action.

Progress on Exhibition Centre [back building]
This building,  tucked behind the new Visitor Centre, is well underway. It will also have a green roof and the plants are growing on strongly in preparation for this. Gibson Group – the exhibition designer – is active again, finalising the exhibition content for this space.

Installation of the exhibition is scheduled to start in May, as soon as the Exhibition building is completed by Naylor Love, and is due for completion by November this year.

Punakaiki’s NEW Skyscraper

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

As everyone can now see, construction of the new Visitor Centre is well underway , with metal framing and laminated timber uprights showing the design and shape of the building to be. Some have wondered about the apparent height of the ‘roof’ indicated by the giant scaffolding spans and white covers, but rest assured, the finished building will not soar nearly that high. 

The building itself is emerging at approximately half the height of the canopy at the lower end , rising to take in the mezzanine floor at the northern end. The mezzanine floor ing is already in place, with views right out to the ocean , and the first glass panels are in place. Photo Cred: J. Flemming & Naylor Love


Funding for Stage 2

You’ll remember that collective breath has been held, for some months now, to learn if the necessary extra funding would be found to complete the project, divided into stages early last year due to hugely escalating costs [see March 2022 update].

The good news is , the Project has now secured additional government funding which will enable completion of the important multi – media visitor exhibition space , pedestrian link bridge, water treatment [to deliver potable water to the key visitor facilities ], the section of shared pathway through

the bush linking the southern section to the section from Dolomite Point north to Truman Track, landscaping, a pedestrian promenade upgrade, a nature walk and viewing platform on the hillside behind the new Visitor Centre, traffic control and pedestrian crossing upgrades. The project is on target to deliver much of the above by the s tart of this coming summer [with 1 December 2023 the intended Visitor Centre opening date] and will then continue with the multi – media exhibition construction and fit – out, with a scheduled opening date of later next year [2024].

The green roof

Recent media articles in the Grey Star, Westport News and Messenger show thousands of plants growing away, to be planted up later this year. They are all low – growing and have been eco – sourced from around the Dolomite Point area . Thank you to the team from Conservation Volunteers NZ

What do the locals do?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Many people come to Punakaiki attracted to its beautiful cliffs, native forest and pancake layered rocks but only scratch the surface of what’s available here. We’ve compiled a list of just some of the many things locals get up to on The Coast Road.


Locals on the Coast road through Punakaiki and surrounds can often be spotted checking the surf, and there’s a high chance it’s pumping. It’s rarely crowded here and not that uncommon to have dolphins join your surf session.

The orange sunsets can be very dramatic, making for an ambient evening out on the water. Then it’s just a short walk back to base relaxed up on that surf buzz. About an hour away in the West Coast’s main centres, Greymouth and Westport, surfers come from all over the Coast and beyond to participate in regular surf comps.

There are even new ones popping up in other places on the West Coast such as Hokitika. 



15 minutes south of Punakaiki is the Barrytown Hall. This prestigious venue is full of history, with many successful acts having visited in their formative years. To this day the hall attracts many creatives as well as music lovers and dancefloor legends alike.

Once a year the hall also fills out for the costume themed Barrytown Ball. Across the road from the hall is the All Nations Barrytown pub, a favourite place to grab some Kai before the gig. The All Nations also hosts music acts, quiz nights and other events.

Further North local creatives congregate at Fox River for jam night each Wednesday for a social evening of homegrown music collabs. 

Kai and crafts

In summer people gather at the Sunday Fox River Market to catch up, get some hot food and coffee while picking up produce, preserves and unique one-off items such as pottery, clothing and other goods. 


Outdoor recreation

It’s no secret that Punakaiki is home to one of New Zealand’s newest Great Walks – The Paparoa track, which is a must do, inspiring a lot of great biking, hiking and running missions. There are also many shorter walks and trails to beautiful secluded beach spots and tranquil swimming holes. These are not always well publicised for a reason; the fun is in spending a bit more time exploring to find these hidden spots. If you’re extra lucky you may even find a piece of our treasured Pounamu/Greenstone along the sands. 

For a different kind of adventure rock climbers love getting amongst the crags at Bullock Creek and Weka Wall, with unparalleled views from high.

It’s also never been easier to hire kayaks, paddleboards and ebikes, thanks to Waka Puna in Punakaiki.


Barbecues are a favourite way of sharing food in New Zealand and even more so on the Coast road where locals love being outside in the temperate climate amongst the sounds of crashing waves and the calls of the Tui. 

Many people are surprised to find that Punakaiki has a very reasonable number of days of sunshine. On the days it does rain it often rains hard which keeps everything green and can make for a cosy day in watching from the window or an exhilarating day out in the elements (with appropriate gear).



Many people here work in tourism, hospitality, trades, conservation and the arts, or dabble in a few different pursuits. Some have been here for many years, while others are travellers taking the opportunity to work and live in this beautiful corner of the world. The Coast Road is an inspiring setting making it a great place for exercising engenuity and getting startups off the ground.


Coming to Punakaiki soon? We recommend getting the local experience and planning a longer visit.

Pete’s Pattie Palace (Update)

Monday, March 27th, 2023

Right in the heart of Punakaiki Beach Camp, situated with views of the cliffs, is Pete’s Pattie Palace foodcart. The foodcart is probably known best for its perky morning brew and delicious West Coast whitebait patties which have been in very high demand this season. 

Another popular mainstay is the refreshing softserve ice cream and Pete has now branched out to include a novel variation – coconut iced coffee. 

New to the Palace is a New Zealand favourite that is generally only offered in the South Island, the humble cheese roll. Pete has perfected a new recipe which incorporates three different cheeses – decadent! 

Pete’s Pattie Palace, in walking distance from your tent or cabin is the perfect spot to grab some Kai and take in the serenity of Punakaiki.

Here’s what a couple of Pete’s most recent customers said on Google Reviews:

Ofer: “Pete’s patties are amazing! Ordered two and could not resist getting seconds.

Try the ice cream, it’s great!”

Roxanne: “Proof positive that simple food can be extraordinary when made with care. Thank you Pete for the best whitebait pattie I’ve ever had. Went back for seconds !”


Running the Paparoa Track… on a good day!

Sunday, February 5th, 2023

In December 2021 Jed and Johanna made it over the Paparoa track in a day but not without some hitches and challenging conditions. Read about it here. Less than a year later, August 2022 Jed and Johanna returned to Blackball to run the full track again. Here’s their story of the day. 

Our first running attempt of the Paparoa was somewhat of an epic. Little more than 6 months into training some might say this was a bold run we had planned, however we had been working hard, felt ready, and almost made it over smoothly.

A good comparison of the conditions

There’s something very special about the Paparoa track and after our eventful first experience we were still hungry for another go on the trail. After some solid recovery time followed by more training we set our date for 8 months later, 27 August 2022.

The day we planned to run, repair work was going on and the road from Blackball to the track start was closed to vehicles. Hence we took on board the prospect of running an extra 6kms and some extra hill right from the get go. Our total to cover in the day would be 62km, starting at Blackball Hilton and finishing at Punakaiki Beach Camp. A running friend joined us for the first big stretch up to Ces Clark Hut.

6am on Saturday morning in the dark, The Paparoa Track Services van dropped us off at ‘Formerly the Blackball Hilton’ and we got a quick pre-run selfie and downed some electrolyte fluids, jittery with nerves/excitement. Johanna was particularly nervous as the two days leading up to the run she had been feeling crook with nausea and stomach upset.

The date of the run was pretty much non-negotiable though, the metvuw forecast was for an absolute pearler of a day with no guarantee of another like this on the Sunday, or the following weekend. Johanna woke up on the Saturday feeling okay and decided to take the gamble.

The run got off to a good start, heading up the road climb we were careful to pace ourselves. We had a long way to go. It was novel running this extra stretch before the track. The concrete was easy on foot and we were surrounded by orange rock walls and ferns as we watched the sun come up, colouring the sky rosé. Soon we were onto the track itself.

Our legs were warmed up, the yarns were flowing, Jed was in great spirits… Such good spirts that 5km in he lost control of his footing on a rock, his ankle rolling out from under him. The mood suddenly shifted as we stopped and assessed the situation, wondering if the game was already over, just a short distance from Blackball. Thankfully as Jed got going again the pain began to subside and we became assured he wasn’t injured; nethertheless Jed made sure to concentrate more on his feet and the rocky terrain. 

The track leading to Ces Clark Hut was a steady climb. We kept up the momentum by jogging slowly up the hills and taking breaks every so often. Jed who’d run, biked and walked the track seemed to know the Paparoa in fine detail and kept pointing out spots of interest. 


When we made it up to Ces Clark Hut the sun was out in full force with a view of blue sky and snowy peaks behind us as we stood on the balcony of the hut. We stopped for a snack break and photos and chatted to trampers. After getting carried away a bit in conversation we looked at our watches; not knowing how the day would go, it was best we didn’t linger too long. 

Our friend wished us well for the rest of the run and we said our goodbyes; she would be heading back down the hill to Blackball with some tunes and getting closer to a well-earned glass of wine.

A bit more climbing and a bit more shuffling through undulating terrain while admiring the pristine native bush and the well-made track. When we got onto the tops we laughed and marveled at just how different our view was compared to the first time we ran this. The first time we had to keep the speed on to keep warm, fighting against a bitter wind and hard pellets of rain. This time we could take in the stunning 360 degree views, in awe of the huge drop offs and expansive tussocky views with hills, tarns and the distant sea.

Absolute stunner on the tops!

Quick obligatory stop at the impressive Moonlight Hut to fill our water bottles before we pushed on to Emergency shelter for lunch. We remembered how crucial the shelter had been last time we came through, protecting us from the elements while we stopped for a break. This time it had been replaced with an upgraded shelter which was much bigger. Johanna had struggled to eat any solid food, with the muesli bar at stop one not going down well. Even by lunch she was not able to touch any of the sandwiches or snacks she’d brought. Gels were a life-safer, going down smoothly and keeping the energy levels up.

It’s always a good feeling getting to Pororari Hut. We’ve been up there several times from the Punakaiki side and love the feeling of being back in the temperate forest. We were beginning to feel the muscle fatigue and it was about here the headphones and tunes came on to help push us forward. From here it was pretty smooth sailing down hill. We were sore but we felt the toughest part was over. We passed some fellow members of the West Coast Alpine Club who were doing pest control, exchanging some quick stories of the day.

The final 5km of the trail felt more like 30. Every time we stopped we felt so stiff, but the call to sit down on just about any half-decent log or rock was oh so strong. Sitting in the middle of the track on one of the last stops, Johanna finally felt some appetite for a carb-on-carb hashbrown & hummus sandwich. She offered one to a weary Jed and he first said no but soon changed his mind and downed two. After a couple more stops in the last section we finally said enough’s enough, we need to get moving. Tiredness turned to elation as we passed a key point where Jed said ‘I know this corner – we’re almost there!’ We fully appreciated the sparkly green pororari river beside us as we cruised on to the finish, beers, hot tub and congratulations waiting, grins ear to ear. We did it. Relaxing next to a big Kowhai tree we were amused to watch a plump Kererū attempt to fight off several Tui from eating the yellow flowers; the Tui largely unperturbed. It was good to be in Punakaiki.

Our team in the news!

Monday, January 30th, 2023

We’ve been popping up in the media recently. Check us out!


Dion chats to the team from Development West Coast about Waka Puna, his new kayaking and paddleboarding venture, just down the road from the beach camp. Dion offers a fresh perspective on what kind of experience people can get out of their time in Punakaiki.



Craig featured on Newshub giving his take on the recent increased activity in Punakaiki with the development of the new visitor centre and the start of a new wave of visitors to the town. 

Craig and the team at Punakaiki Beach Camp are excited for what’s on the horizon.


Waitangi Weekend

Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Kia ora

We’re having a dreamy summer over here in Punakaiki. Waitangi weekend is less than a month away and we’ve got some amazing options for you.


If you haven’t managed to get a booking over this busy period don’t worry, there are still opportunities coming up to wind down and enjoy our oasis. We have three wonderful holiday homes available to book, each with its own unique setting.


Treescapes is a beautiful rustic-feel new house right in the heart of the bush and overlooking the sea, for those who love waking up to watch the bellbirds and kereru outside their windows, and listening to the gentle crashing of waves.


Seascapes is a lovely designed home in a prime spot for beach lovers and walkers alike who also love to come back and relax in luxury either indoors or outside on the garden deck.


Cliffscapes, our third available home is wonderfully spacious and comfortable, set with an awe inspiring view of Punakaiki’s spectacular cliffs, a large garden, and great proximity to our coveted trails.

We also have plenty of Campsites, Cabins & Driftwood Cottage available for whatever the experience you’re after.

If you’d like to know more, check out our website or give our friendly team a call. We think you’d love a stay in Punakaiki this Waitangi, commemorating our national holiday.

Ka kite anō, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Punakaiki Beach Camp has been buzzing with holiday makers this Christmas. Summer kicked in just in time and it’s been great to see people relaxing and getting out exploring – hiking, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and just generally having a great time with family and friends. Our customers know how to make the most of the outdoors. Many have stayed on or have arrived to reign in the new year in this idyllic spot.


There aren’t many places more inspiring to welcome in the new year than Punakaiki. Yet when you walk along the Pororari River you may feel like you’re in a prehistoric timewarp. A strong connection here with nature has been preserved. 


Native birds such as Tui, Bellbirds and Kereru can commonly be seen where they are rare in many other regions. The temperate rain forest in Punakaiki is bursting with endemic trees and flora that help these birds thrive. Punakaiki is one of the best places to see the Nikau, Aotearoa’s only native palm tree.


The forest is not only beautiful but offers welcome shade in the summer months and the waterways such as Punakaiki River are clear and delightfully swimmable; back at the Pororari River one is struck by the stunning glassy green water. 


Whilst much of the forest has been preserved, we are fortunate that other areas are being restored with the help of volunteers and workers from The Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project, West Coast, which aims to protect the habitat of the Westland Taiko/Petrels and Little Blue Penguins.


Punakaiki feels like a reminder of Aotearoa’s past but it is also a wonderful place to think about new beginnings; how to stay connected with the natural environment and protect and restore it as well as kicking back and enjoying it. Sometimes it can just start with planting a native tree in your backyard or community.


We wish you all the best for 2023; thank you to those who have stayed with us this year and we look forward to meeting more of you soon. Have a wonderful holiday. 


Ka Kite Anō.


Pretty Great Actually :)

Friday, November 11th, 2022

A few months back some of the Punakaiki crew did some modelling for Development West Coast’s ‘Pretty Great Actually’ campaign and here are the results.

Going for a cruise up the Pororari River here are Sue and Craig, what a spot huh! 

Tim enjoying a lazy afternoon in the hammock at our Seascapes house, just bliss!

Punakaiki Visitor Centre coming along.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

We’re all pretty excited here in Punakaiki about the new build that’s happening up at Dolomite Point opposite our mega famous Pancake Rocks.

The new Experience Centre has been going ahead in leaps and bounds since work started at the end of May.

The really tricky part of the work, getting the piles in to our rocky limestone, is done and the building’s foundations are springing up.

The 100-tonne Grove Manitowoc crane – which can lift 26.1 t in weight and has 9 m extension legs – will be arriving any day now.


The contractors will be wrapping the construction site with protection canopies soon to prevent any wild weather from holding up the works. It’s all happening in Punakaiki!

It’s great to see local chippies and other tradies working as subbies on the site.  The workers that aren’t local are staying in Punakaiki and eating here during the week so lots of benefits all round.

Meanwhile DOC’s visitor centre is operating as normal so if you have any questions about what to do and where to go drop in and see them.

Spring has sprung and so has a new business in Punakaiki!

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Waka Puna is the brain child of business partners Jase and Dion.  They’ve bought what was Punakaiki Canoes and, as well as continuing to offer kayak and gear rental, Waka Puna also has stand up paddle boards for hire and offers lessons.

Dion grew up in Punakaiki and previously ran surf lessons and a stand up paddle board business in the township.

He says Waka Puna has a regenerative tourism focus. He and Jase see it as a vehicle to connect people to the natural energy of Punakaiki and themselves.“We want people who come to Waka Puna to make a really respectful connection with the incredible natural energy (mauri) of this unspoilt environment and to carry that away with them. Changing the interaction so as to heighten the senses is one of our goals.


“There’s a saying in te reo Māori, “Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au.’  I am the river, the river is me.”

“Waka Puna is about sharing the acknowledgement that the river is a living being. This creates a mindset for a deeper experience and evokes emotion towards the environment. We get really pumped on this!”

So if you want to kayak or stand up paddle board in Punakaiki check out Waka Puna located right beside the Pororari River bridge.As well as a range of kayaks and paddle boards they have wetsuits, wet shoes, shorts and life jackets.  All hires include a briefing which describes the significance of the water way and its features and how to use water craft safely.Waka Puna is also going to be offering cruiser e-bikes for rental soon so keep your eyes out for that.

Stand up for your land!

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

You might not be aware of it but there’s a review of stewardship land on the West Coast going on at the moment and I reckon it’s pretty important.

Stewardship land was allocated to DOC when it was established as a government department in 1987. DOC manages this land under the Conservation Act 1987 to protect it.

A National Panel for the Western South Island, and a Ngāi Tahu Mana Whenua Panel have recently reviewed the 504 pieces of stewardship land on the Coast and made draft recommendations for future classification of this land.

Their recs aren’t final and DOC wants feedback to help determine the best outcome for stewardship land on the Coast.

A great opportunity for us to choose what happens here
Parcels of land along the Coast Road up for Re-classification

Submissions are the chance for you and me to have a say. I’ve summarised some info about the pieces of land which are really important for me below.

You can copy each of the headings below into the submission portal when selecting which parcel you want to submit on.

If you want to submit follow this link for more info:

Submissions close 26 July 2022.

Conservation Area – Northern Paparoa Range (2808295)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

This area contains high ecological values very similar to the existing Paparoa National Park. including ecosystems untouched by humans. This area deserves the kind of protection that being added to Paparoa National Park provides.

Conservation Area – Basin Road (2808292)- Conservation Area – Charleston (2808367)- Conservation Area – Nile River (2808291)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Unique cave systems, historic places and lush West Coast rainforest of nikau, rata and rimu. This area is another block that mimics that of land already under Paparoa National Park. These cave systems are so important to what makes Paparoa unique (limestone formations built over thousands of years) that they must remain looked after to the standard National Parks offer.

Conservation Area – Woodpecker Bay (2808374)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Home to Great Spotted Kiwi the small but special piece of stewardship land deserves the recognition of National Park status. Fitting in with the surrounding landscapes of limestone escarpment ecosystems this needs to be protected.

Conservation Area – Fox River (2808375)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

This small parcel of land should have been included in the Paparoa National Park at its onset. It wasn’t but now is the time to include it. Giant rata tower above the Fox River and continuing the Paparoa National Park alongside the river is very important for the integrity of the area.

Conservation Area – Bullock Creek Farm (2808377)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Bullock Creek Farm, originally cleared for farming is now being given a new life. This area is being replanted by Conservation Volunteers NZ in a huge effort to blend, what was abandoned grass land, into the beauty of the surrounding Paparoa National Park. The hard effort of volunteers and professional tree planters will be appreciated greatly if this area gets the protection of National Park status. Future generations will walk through the regenerating bush to the start of the Mt Bovis Track, Cave Stream track and Inland Pack Track. With National Park status this area will be here for everyone forever.

Conservation Area – Punakaiki – Coast Road (South) (2806891)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

You walk up the Punakaiki River, no matter the conditions you’re in awe of the hills you face. The towering cliffs, the huge rata and rimu that somehow stay connected to the near vertical faces. Behind and to the sides of these parcels of land is the Paparoa National Park. which was given the highest protection our land system allows and for good reason, this place is unlike any other. The Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk ends here, right next to PAP_14.

Let’s keep this area a magical finish for riders on this amazing track and add it to the National Park they have been through on the track.

Conservation Area – Paparoa Range South (2806778)- Conservation Area – Baker Creek (2806784)- Conservation Area – Barrytown – S.H.6 (2806570)-Conservation Area – Seventeen Mile Bluff (2809052)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

National parks are subject to more stringent preservation and protection imperatives than other protected area classifications. Paparoa Range South, Barrytown, Baker Creek & Seventeen Mile bluff stewardship land is without doubt a significant area that deserves these more stringent preservation and protection imperatives.

Conservation Area – Northern Paparoa Range (2808295)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

I support this recommendation because the land has high conservation, recreation and landscape values. I also suggest that it be noted the area provides a buffer for the Paparoa Wilderness Area.