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Punakaiki is right in the middle of The Great Coast Road which you should definitely drive along - Lonely Planet is right in saying it's one of the top ten coastal drives in the world. There are heaps of scenic photo opportunities as the ocean is spectacular, the limestone cliffs look amazing and there are lots of Nikau palm trees which create a real tropical feel to the area. The main attraction is the pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki. They do look like piles of big stone pancakes and when the ocean is pounding in through the rocks the water thunders underneath you and is forced out the blowholes quite spectacularly. If you're not there during high tide the blowhole walk and a few others in the area are well worth doing anyway. The best place to stay is the Punakaiki Resort. It's right on the beach, the rooms are lovely and the restaurant is positioned to make the most of the ocean view and the renowned West Coast sunsets.

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