Hike the Paparoa Track
Day 1 - Drive to Punakaiki
Drive to Punakaiki, arrive at the Punakaiki Beach Camp office. The friendly reception staff will organise your accommodation for the night. We will advise where to park your car and where to meet for transport to the start of the track the following morning!
Enjoy a beautiful evening around Punakaiki! Go to the cavern, check out the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at high tide or watch the sunset from the lagoon track. We have our top 6 things to do in Punakaiki here. Get exploring!
Day 2 - Smoke-ho Carpark to Moonlight Tops Hut
Time: 6-8 Hours
Park your car in the designated parking area. Meet at the Punakaiki Beach Camp office at 7:45am, load your gear, jump in the bus. We arrive at Smoke-ho Carpark at 9.15am, unload all the gear and you are good to go!
The track begins at its southern end at Smoke-ho Carpark near Blackball, about a 45-minute drive from Greymouth. Beginning on the existing Croesus Track, with remnants of the area’s goldmining history, the track ascends through beech and podocarp forest before crossing alpine scrub and tussock. You will be rewarded with expansive views of the Grey River/Māwheranui to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west. Moonlight Tops Hut provides spectacular views across the Punakaiki River headwaters to the Pike Stream escarpment and north to the Paparoa National Park.
Day 3 - Moonlight Tops Hut to Pororari Hut
Time: 5-7 Hours
Open tops give way to alpine forest stunted by the harsh environment. Along this section of the track, you meet the junction of the Pike Ridge with the main Paparoa Range. Here the Pike29 Memorial Track to the Pike River Mine site begins. Beyond the junction, the Paparoa Track winds along the top of the escarpment where the landscape is strikingly dramatic with sheer drops and stunning views down the Pike Stream in the east, stretching west to Punakaiki and north-west to Westport. About halfway to Pororari Hut, you descend from the escarpment to walk through ancient podocarp forest under towering cliffs. The track then follows the spine of the Tindale ridge to Pororari Hut. As you traverse the ridge, look north to see the Lone Hand, a curious and gnarled outcrop of bedrock on the north side of the Pororari River.
Day 4 - Pororari Hut to Pororari River Carpark
Time: 4-5 Hours
Distance: 16.4 km to Pororari River Carpark.
Paparoa Track then descends and follows the upper Pororari River valley, just above the river itself, until it joins an old pack track built to establish the original settlement in the upper valley. The track sidles a spectacular gorge and descends towards the coast through beech forest interspersed with northern rātā. From here you will catch glimpses of the lower Pororari River Gorge. At the junction with the historic Inland Pack Track, walkers and mountain bikers diverge: walkers follow the Pororari River Track along the lower gorge with its striking limestone cliffs; mountain bikers descend into the Punakaiki River valley, ending at Waikori Road carpark. Both pass through lush rainforest with serene glades of nīkau palms.