The pancake rocks are the most visited natural attraction on the West Coast with good reason. These ancient formations are a true wonder of nature – and they really do look like pancakes!
Nature began this work of art about 30 million years ago. Over thousands of years, alternating layers of small marine creatures and sand became buried and compressed on the ocean floor. This created areas with multiple layers of hard limestone and softer sandstone.
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Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand. The 5.5 km wide island is an iconic and widely visible landmark of Auckland with its distinctive symmetrical shield volcano cone rising 260 metres (850 ft) high over the Hauraki Gulf. Rangitoto is the most recent and the largest (2311 hectares) of the approximately 50 volcanoes of the Auckland volcanic field. It is separated from the mainland of Auckland’s North Shore by the Rangitoto Channel. Since World War II it has been linked by a causeway to the much older, non-volcanic Motutapu Island.
Rangitoto is Māori for ‘Bloody Sky’, with the name coming from the full phrase Ngā Rangi-i-totongia-a Tama-te-kapua (‘The days of the bleeding of Tama-te-kapua’).