Pancake Rocks campsite nearly swallowed by sea

Pancake Rocks campsite nearly swallowed by sea

A popular camping ground near the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki is just metres away from being swallowed up by sea.

Eleven metres of land has eroded away in the last month and now locals are desperate to save the campsites.

Punakaiki beach camp manager Craig Findlay says it's a real threat to them.

"We are literally one tide away to closing."

The Punakaiki piece of paradise is a popular spot for tourists, right beside a river, a national park, and the beach.

"Yeah, I love the camp ground very much," says camper Valentine Zeller. "It's so close to the beach and the most beautiful spot on the West Coast, probably."

Now it is quickly being eaten away, swallowed up by the high tides.

The sea event, three weeks ago, took out about 4m of sand.

In the past month, 11m of land has gone along a 150m stretch of unprotected beach. It's now only 8m away from being engulfed and closed.

"We have had the camp two and a half years and we've highlighted the potential problem from day one," Mr Findlay says.

"We're at a desperate point to get a solution to it."

More than 25,000 visitors stop there each year to see the famous Punakaiki rocks -- and the campground is key to tourism.

"People love to be on the beach but they don't want ... the beach in the tent sort of thing," says Mr Findlay.

Locals are rallying this weekend, filling more than 3000 sandbags to try and halt the erosion.

"I was in Greymouth yesterday and people were saying, 'I'm coming out on Saturday', so everybody from Greymouth to Westport are wanting to come and help," says Sue Beaucroft-Findlay. "They all love the camp."

But love and sand bags may not be enough to save camp ground from the force of the sea.