Introduction

Learn how to stay safe on the Paparoa Track.

Your safety is your responsibility

Know the Outdoor Safety Code - 5 simple rules to help you #makeithome.

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.

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.

Check Paparoa National Park weather forecast

Hypothermia (too cold)

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.

  • Prevention: wear warm and weatherproof gear. Eat and drink regularly during your walk/ride.
  • Watch for symptoms: people may shiver, be clumsy, confused, have slurred speech, and deny they have a problem.
  • Treatment: immediately make or find shelter; get the person into dry, warm clothing, put them into a sleeping bag, give them warm, sweet drinks, monitor them and seek immediate medical help.
Heat exhaustion

This can be serious and is usually caused by physical activity in a hot environment and not drinking enough water.

  • Prevention: carry and drink water regularly throughout your walk.
  • Watch for symptoms: headaches, thirst, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.
  • Treatment: move to a cool shaded area to rest, remove excess clothing and give water to drink.
Flooding

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 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.

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.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

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