West coast

Paparoa Track to fully open 1 March

The Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, will fully open on 1 March, and this is being marked with the unveiling tomorrow of three hand carved waharoa, or entranceways at the three entry points to the track.

Department of Conservation

Feb. 28, 2020


Paparoa Track - Nimmo Photography.PNG

The Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, will fully open on 1 March, and this is being marked with the unveiling tomorrow of three hand carved waharoa, or entranceways at the three entry points to the track.

The track has been partially open since it first opened on December 1 2019, with the middle section remaining closed due to a problematic slip. The reinstatement of this track section proved difficult with prolonged adverse weather leading to unstable ground conditions.

Pike 29 family members, track builders, and community members are gathering at each of the three entry points to unveil the waharoa which have been hand carved by Ngāti Waewae, mana whenua for this area.

Shane Hall, Greymouth Operations Manager says the middle section of the track is spectacular, with a “goblin forest” of wind shaped silver beech, stunning vistas along the sandstone escarpment, fascinating geology, and a waterfall on the descent to the Pororari River.

“It’s the heart of the track and we are pleased to see it fully open to visitors”.

While the majority of work has been completed on the trail, there are still teams undertaking finishing work on sections of the trail. Walkers and mountain bikers are asked to heed instructions from teams working on the trail and be prepared for some minor disruptions.

Booking for the 2020-21 season which starts in October opens in June.

Background information

The waharoa are located inland from Blackball at the eastern end of the Paparoa Track, where most people will start the Great Walk, and by the Pororari and Punakaiki Rivers, where walkers and bikers will respectively complete their journeys on the Great Walk.

The Pike 29 Memorial Track, which will branch off the Paparoa Track between Moonlight Tops Hut and Pororari Hut and lead to the former mine site, will open once the Pike River Recovery Agency completes its work to re-enter the mine, and DOC completes a planned memorial and interpretation centre.