Jacks Blowhole

Jacks Blowhole - Catlins

Jacks Blowhole




15 Rankers Reviews

14 Face-to-Face

470 Walking

18 Owaka

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


Impressive phenomenon!


The track along the coast to the blowhole.
Caitlins coast walk


3 km return | 1 hour return

It’s dimensions are staggering - 55 metres deep, 144 metres long and 68 wide. It is over 200 metres inland from the sea. The cauldron of swirling water rides up the sheer walls and echoes like the belly rumbles of a dragon.


You are requested to respect the right granted by the landowner to cross private land. The track is closed during lambing, 1 September – 1 November.


From Owaka follow Hina Hina Road and cross the bridge over the Catlins River. Turn left and continue 5 km to Jacks Bay.

At Jacks Bay head right to the parking area at the end of the beach. The track starts from the hill at the far end.


The track follows poles over farmland and stiles, climbing the hill to the fenced area by the blowhole. A track circuits the hole, with a viewing platform at the landward end.


Blowholes such as this are testimony to the power of the sea. Relentless wave action exploits a weakness in the rock structure of the cliffs, steadily enlarging a cavity to form a cave. Where a weakness exits above the fissure, the compression of water and air with the waxing and waning of swells, can cause the overlying rock to collapse, forming a chimney through the rock.


Native vegetation surrounds the enormous blowhole, a curious feature of the surrounding farmland.

Polynesian History

Jacks Blowhole takes its name from Tuhawaiki, a notable chief of southern Maori who reached notoriety for his battled against the infamous Te Rauparaha, a bloodthirsty North Island chief. Jack (his European name) once swam from False Islet to Jack’s Island, a distance of 8 km, to evade capture after a skirmish.

European History

It is said the blowhole was discovered by Europeans in 1875. One local farmer was out looking for stray stock when he stumbled on the aperture in the ground, only metres from its edge.


Feature Value Info


South IslandSouthlandOwaka


  • Walking
  • Free



Showing 13 reviews of 15.

Charlotte Molesworth's avatar

Charlotte Molesworth

United Kingdom

Ranking: 6/10

Good walk along the coast. Can be quite steep at times - the actual blowhole possibly being better on a rough day to see the waves crashing through.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Luke's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Steady walk to the blowhole which was impressive to watch the sea crash against the rocks.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Caroline's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

All the free walks are very nice and very well maintained. Bridges and walkways are with lots of care and very respectfully built. Toilets at the starting point are always cool and with paper and soap.

Reviewed about 4 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Clayton Hunniford's avatar

Clayton Hunniford


Ranking: 7/10

Mildly interesting reward for a short, easy walk. Always admire the forces of nature but wish there was a closer view to the blowhole.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in February 2016

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Patrick Edwards's avatar

Patrick Edwards


Ranking: 6/10

Think that the conditions may not have been ideal to see the hole in full force. Walk up was nice though and the blowhole is cool to see even when not blowing.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Frederieke's avatar



Ranking: 6/10

Short walk. Even if it is not working because of the wrong tide it is quite interesting.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Saskia's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful walk to get there and a fun thing to see.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Michele's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

Don't believe what they say - it's not an easy walk.. you need a moderate level of fitness as some parts are v steep. Also the sign at the start of the track says 20 mins (this is a lie!) It is 1 hour return at least. However, it was worth it in the end to see Jacks Blowhole! Great views from up high too.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Marie's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Nice and easy walk, amazing view at the blowhole.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2013

Bettina Fluhrer's avatar

Bettina Fluhrer


Ranking: 10/10

Unbelievable how big the hole is and the force of the sea. A beautiful calm and wonderful place!!

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2013

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Stefan's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

A very incredible hole. Shows you the force of the sea.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2013

Robert Cox's avatar

Robert Cox


Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful scenery.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Bowness's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Lovely walk to blowhole. Views down the coast.

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in March 2010

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner