Walkers on Paparoa Track
Time: 3 days walking, 2 days mountain biking (no e-bikes)
Distance: 55 km walking, 56. 2 km mountain biking (no-e-bikes)
Pororari River Gorge
There are three Great Walk huts on the Paparoa Track. Most walkers stay at Moonlight Tops Hut (20 bunks) and Pororari Hut (20 bunks), for the standard 2-night, 3-day journey. For the alternative 3-night, 4-day journey, walkers will also stay at Ces Clark Hut (16 bunks). There are no campsites.
Huts have bunks, mattresses, heating, gas cooktops, toilets, and a water supply. A DOC ranger may be present. The huts do not provide food, cooking utensils or showers. Backcountry Hut Passes can be used at Ces Clark Hut but not at Moonlight Tops or Pororari huts.
Fees are charged per person, per night to stay in huts on the Paparoa Track. There are no fees to complete a day walk/ride on the track or for entry into Paparoa National Park.
Backcountry Hut Passes can be used as payment for Ces Clark Hut, however you'll need to book online, then claim a refund.
To claim a refund, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your booking reference and a scanned copy of your Backcountry Hut Pass.
All three huts must be booked in advance.
Bookings are open to 30 June 2020.
Time: 7–8 hr
Distance: 20 km
Beginning on the historic Croesus Track, with remnants of the area’s gold mining history, the track ascends through beech and podocarp forest before reaching Ces Clark Hut. Beyond the hut you pass through alpine scrub and tussock, and you will be rewarded with expansive views of Grey River/Māwheranui to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west. Moonlight Tops Hut provides spectacular views across the Punakaiki River headwaters to the Pike Stream escarpment and north across the Paparoa National Park.
Time: 5–7 hr
Distance: 19.1 km
Open tops give way to alpine forest stunted by the harsh environment. The track winds along the top of the escarpment, with steep cliffs and stunning views. About half-way to Pororari Hut, you descend from the escarpment through ancient podocarp forest. The track then follows the ridge above Tindale Creek to Pororari Hut. Keep an eye out for the Lone Hand, a gnarled outcrop of rock on the north side of the Pororari River.
Time: 4–5 hr
Distance: 16 km
The track descends and follows the upper Pororari River valley, until it joins an old track built to establish settlement in the upper valley. The track sidles along a spectacular gorge and descends through beech forest interspersed with northern rātā. At the junction with the historic Inland Pack Track, hikers and mountain bikers diverge: hikers follow the track beside the Pororari River through the lower gorge; mountain bikers must exit into the Punakaiki River valley, ending at Waikori Road car park. Both pass through lush rainforest with glades of nīkau palms.
Time: 3 hr 30 min – 5 hr 30 min
Distance: 20 km
Time: 6 hr 30 min – 8 hr 30 min
Distance: 36.2 km
Paparoa Track is a well-formed track with numerous swing and suspension bridges. The track is Advanced: Grade 4 with a mixture of long, steep climbs, narrow track, poor traction and obstacles that are difficult to avoid or jump over. It's a particularly tough ride to Ces Clark Hut. The track is generally exposed at the outside edge. Most riders will find some sections easier to walk.
Plan to spend one night on the track.
This is a shared-use track. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.
Mountain bikers and walkers share Paparoa Track
The nearest towns are Blackball, Greymouth and Punakaiki.
The track can be accessed by road at:
Several operators provide shuttle services to/from Paparoa Track. Find transport around the coast (West Coast Tourism).
DOC works in partnership with the Paparoa Wildlife Trust (external site) in the south-east ranges bordering the Paparoa National Park. Through this partnership, the Paparoa Wildlife Trust maintains a trapping network that effectively controls between 10,000 and 15,000 hectares of land. This programme, in conjunction with the 12.5-hectare pest-proof kiwi crèche on the Atarau plains and the Paparoa great spotted kiwi/roroa recovery project, has delivered significant gains for kiwi.
Know the Outdoor Safety Code - 5 simple rules to help you #makeithome.
The track is well marked but if you become lost you should stop, find shelter and stay calm. Put on extra clothing to keep warm and assist rescuers should you hear them searching for you.
There is no cellphone coverage on most of the Paparoa Track.
Weather in Paparoa National Park is changeable with annual rainfall averaging around 6,000 mm (235 inches). Heavy rain, snow, ice, fog and strong winds are possible at all times of the year, especially on the exposed sections of the track.
You must be well equipped and prepared for all weather conditions and carry warm and waterproof clothing. If the weather becomes severe, stay put in a hut or turn back until conditions improve.
If you are hiking or biking the track in winter, check for snow and ice conditions before you leave and allow extra time. If in doubt, consider changing your trip to another day.
During cold, wet and windy conditions, hypothermia (drop in core body temperature) can become a serious problem. From initial stages to unconsciousness can take as little as 30 minutes.
This can be serious and is usually caused by physical activity in a hot environment and not drinking enough water.
Some sections of track in the Pororari Valley may become impassable during times of very heavy rainfall. There is also a risk of landslides. There is danger of treefall in extreme wind events. Do not attempt to travel between Pororari Hut and the carparks in Punakaiki if these conditions occur. Take shelter in Pororari Hut and wait until conditions improve.
The section to Ces Clark Hut is a tough mountain bike ride as it's rough and narrow in places. Make sure you have the skills, fitness and time to tackle it.
New Zealand’s native tree nettle, Ongaonga, may be seen along the Paparoa Track in the Pororari Valley. It's sting is painful - don't touch its leaves.
Tell someone you trust your plans and when they should hear from you next. Include the national/international emergency service numbers: 111-Police for points of contact in New Zealand, +64-4-381-2000 for international. Find more information at www.adventuresmart.org.nz.
The Pike29 Memorial Track is under construction until at least December 2020 - it can’t be used until it opens. An opening date will be confirmed closer to the time.