West coast

Partial closure of Paparoa Track to continue

DOC has extended the partial closure of the Paparoa Track until the end of February 2020.

Department of Conservation

Dec. 16, 2019

Paparoa Shuttle

Extreme weather on the West Coast has continued to stymie efforts to open the middle section of the Paparoa Track, the Department of Conservation (DOC) says.

The track was affected by a slip in the weeks leading up to the opening of the new Great Walk on December 1 and could only be partially opened.

Greymouth Operations Manager Shane Hall says the slip has worsened due to ground saturation causing further slipping, and contractors are unable to continue working safely in the area until the conditions improve for track construction.

As a result, DOC has extended the partial closure of the track. The affected period is from 22 December 2019 through to 29 February 2020. It is anticipated the middle section of track will open on 1 March 2020.

“We know the extended partial track closure will be disruptive and disappointing to visitors who have booked their huts and made plans to visit the Coast, especially over the Christmas holiday period,” Shane Hall says.

“People who have booked on the track during these dates have been notified by email of the extended closure period on the middle section of track.”

The problematic area is located on a steep face between the Moonlight Tops Hut and the Pororari Hut. This area has a formal closure in place, which means it is illegal for any unauthorised person to enter.

Shane Hall says the West Coast has been battered by severe weather, rain and wind over the past months, and the affected area has experienced unusually high volumes of rain, leading to extremely wet ground conditions.

“In the first 10 days of December, Greymouth and Westport experienced double the average rainfall. This is on top of an unusually wet November.”

While the Paparoa Track has been affected by the recent bad weather, other popular walking and biking options such as the West Coast Wilderness Trail, the Old Ghost Road, Heaphy Track and Reefton Cycle Trail Network remain fully open.