Punakaiki Pancake Rocks have a layered appearance like a pile of pancakes. The rock was originally laid down under the sea in thin limestone layers, separated by mudstone. Now raised by tectonic action, the sea erodes the softer mudstone away and generates the pancake effect.
There are big cracks and holes between the rocks: these form blowholes, and the sea rushes through them with lots of spray and noise. There’s also the usual crop of funny formations, standing like memorials in a cemetery and just waiting for the sea to knock them down.