The Trail Story
Construction of the new Great Walk started in 2017 and was completed November 2019. The motivation behind building the Paparoa Track is one of great significance. Out of the tragedy of the Pike Mine explosion, came a request from the families of those who died, to establish a multiday tramping and mountain biking track linking Blackball to Punakaiki. This track would be a memorial to the 29 miners and would drive an economic benefit to the west coast communities.
The Department of Conservation accepted the challenge to create a new Great Walk and committed to making the track a shared use track between both mountain bikers and trampers. To link with the Pike River mine head, an 10.8km side track was built off the tops that provides access down to the Pike River mine portal, named the Pike29 Memorial Track. The opening date is still to be confirmed.
The Paparoa Track meets the Inland Pack Track at the Pororari River and users here are separated with riders exiting via a new track over into the neighbouring Punakaiki River. The track will be opened on December 1st 2019.
The Department of Conservation put together this great video of building the Paparoa Track, which showcases the stunning Moonlight Tops.