The Punakaiki Cavern is a Karst cave, formed with a combination of water and carbon dioxide, carving out the cave from the Oligocene limestone.
Fun for all ages to Explore
The cavern features glow worms, the larvae of a large mosquito-like fly. In order to survive they build traps consisting of vertical hanging threads of silk. The silk thread is studded with sticky droplets of mucous to catch small insects that are attracted by the light. In actual fact they are not worms at all.
Bring a Torch
The Punakaiki Caverns can be fun for all ages to explore. Remember to carry a good torch (and preferably a spare) if you're wanting to go a bit deeper into the caves.
Be aware it can also be a bit damp underfoot so wear appropriate footwear.
There are also stalactites in the cavern, formed when calcium carbonate and other minerals, drip from the cavern ceiling over time, eventually creating hanging formations tapering down to pointed tips, resembling solid cones.
Things to Know
Distance - 500m
Difficulty - Easy
No wheelchair access
Price - FREE
The cavern is signposted on SH6, 500 m north of the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre in Punakaiki.