If you’re planning to explore the natural reserve of Paparoa National Park, be sure to stop by Punakaiki. The gateway town is home to pancake rocks, blowholes, and a spectacular coast with vibrant beaches—perfect locations for the ridiculous sunset the town is known for. The city is surrounded by lush nature, including sub-tropical rainforests, lakes, and rivers. As such, activities like hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting are highly accessible in this part of South Island. The town is also home to a vibrant culture, with plenty of coffee shops and restaurants worth eating at. If you’re planning to visit the outdoor heaven that is Paparoa National Park, be sure to knock on the gates first at Punakaiki.