Learn how to stay safe on the Paparoa Track.

Be prepared for all conditions

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.

Weather forecast

Paparoa National Park weather forecast – NIWA website

Heavy rainfall damage 

Sections of the Paparoa Track may be scoured or rutted due to heavy rainfall events. Bikers should take care as the damage can affect ride line and stability in some sections.

Landslides and rock falls

Be aware that landslides and rock falls can occur on the Paparoa Track, particularly during and after heavy rain. These can occur without warning. Follow instructions on warning signage and do not linger in identified rock fall areas.

Flooding and wind events

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.

Be prepared for difficult riding sections

The section between Smoke-ho carpark and 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.

Stay on the marked tracks

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.

Watch out for Ongaonga (tree nettle)

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.

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