Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Earthquakes and Pancakes

I was on the WestCoast last week and decided to check out Punakaiki, which is about 40minutes North of Greymouth. As well as home to some amazing scenery, its famous for The Pancake Rocks!

They were formed around 35 million years ago when tiny bits of dead plant and sea creatures settled on the seabed along with mud and sand. This lovely mixture was then squished by the water pressure and turned into the hard and soft 'pancake' layers of  Limestone and siltstone. 

Then the earthquakes come in, and all of this land was folded and lifted above the seabed, where it was then 'sculpted' (especially the soft layers) by rain, wind and the pounding sea. (this occurred over a long time period!)

The path to the rocks

Stepping off the State Highway you are immediately transported into an amazing lush green sub-tropical forest with Nikau Palms standing above.
Amazing backdrop of misty hills

It wasn't long before i heard the roar of the first blowhole and looked up to see saltwater mist blowing around in the wind.  It was called 'sudden sound' and was very true to its name! (I thought it sounded like a dragon was breathing under the rocks - must watch too many movies)

Mist swirling in 'Putai'

The blowholes work when it is high tide and a rough sea, as the large waves surge into the rocks, seawater is forced under great pressure into the underground passages. The water follows these passages to the surface and then escapes as fine mist above your head. 

Waves crashing into the rocks

You then walk on to more exciting sights! I had stormy weather when i visited so the waves were going really high!

The rock has eroded into some really cool looking shapes and although my pancakes have never looked like that, i can see where it gets its name!

So if you are ever on the West Coast i recommend you stop in and have a look, its worth it. And the cafe next to the visitors centre sells pancakes ....

Beautiful views everywhere!

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