As New Zealand’s newest Great Walk the Paparoa Track has a high standard to live up to. From the lush limestone gorges by the coast to the tussock covered tops this track has a lot going for it. The track can be biked or hiked all year round. No e-bikes are allowed though.
With no campsites the only option on the Paparoa Track is to stay at one of the three huts provided. For walkers we recommend spending two nights on the track and for mountain bikers we recommend one night.
The two Great Walks huts (Moonlight Tops and Porarai) have bunks, mattresses, heating, gas cooktops, toilets and fresh water. The other hut Ces Clark Hut is a serviced hut meaning it has mattresses, water supply, toilets, hand washing facilities and heating with fuel available. All accomodation must be booked in advance. Most people stay a night at Moonlight Tops Hut and Pororari Hut doing the walk in 3 days.
WEATHER + CLOTHING
The Paparoa Track is on the wild West Coast which means rain, rain, rain – be prepared for lots of rain at any time of the year. Make sure you pack a decent raincoat and a change of dry clothes for when you arrive at the huts. Like anywhere above the treelike in New Zealand you can get any weather at any time of the year, pack accordingly. During Winter snow can occur on the exposed tops.
With gas cooking at the two Great Walks huts you don’t even need to take a Jetboil – although we highly recommend still taking one (always handy for a mid morning coffee stop). A track like the Paparoa is perfectly matched with deliciously simple food like the Bacon Mash, Cheesy Mash and Banana Oat Porridge or Bircher Muesli for breakfast. Don’t forget to pack a pudding to share in the evening. If you’re looking for snacks we recommend Em’s Power Cookies and we recommend the coasts very own Kawatiri Coffee for your caffeine fix.
If you need last minute meals stop in at Punakaiki Beach Camp – they stock a range of Absolute Wilderness meals.
This is a track that works best walked from point to point. A quick google search will link you up with plenty of transport options that can do pickup and drop offs for you.
If you’re accessing by car you can access the Great Walk at 3 points.
- Smoke-ho car park at the end of Blackball Road, 8 km north of Blackball
- Pororari River Track carpark on SH 6, 1.2 km north of Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
- Waikori Road carpark on SH 6, 2.4 km south of Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
WHEN TO GO
We recommend going any time of the year. Winter means less people as well as the joy of toasting marshmallows by the fire after a hard day tramping. Summer is the most popular season for walking and biking the track with long sunny days and the possibility of taking a dip in the Porarai River.