Punakaiki, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, isn’t quite a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ sort of place – but it’s not far from it. Famous for the multi-layered ‘pancake’ rock formations that form blowholes and jut out into the ocean, it’s the sort of town that gets plenty of tourist traffic during the day but reverts to a slow, sleepy little town again as night falls.
We’d decided to spend the night here after driving up from Fox Glacier, enjoying the laid-back charm of the local hostel a few metres from the rolling surf. Glancing out the window after dinner, I quickly grabbed my camera and raced out on to the balcony.
It’s not hard to see why.