• self-guided walk
  • 1 night motel, 2 nights Department of Conservation Great Walk Hut
  • 2 Dinners
  • 2 Breakfasts


4 daysfrom


Trip Code: GPP

Trip highlights

  • Hike the newest of New Zealand's dedicated Great Walks
  • Cross the Paparoa Range for unbeatable views of the wild west coast
  • Honour the memory of those lost to the Pike River Mine
  • Admire dramatic landforms moulded from limestone

The Paparoa Track is the most recent addition to New Zealand's suite of Department of Conservation Great Walks. Passing through a national park and conservation area of the same name, the track is in a region where subtropical rainforest meets cool climate vegetation and landforms are the result of sculpted limestone. Beginning inland near the tiny settlement of Blackball, once significant as a coal mining centre with a colourful history, walk along the spectacular Paparoa Range escarpment with striking views of uninterrupted wilderness in one direction and the wild west coast ocean in another. Pass above the former Pike River coal mine, pausing to honour the memory of its tragic story. Descend from the alpine zone to lush forest, through magical river gorges and along an original gold prospector's track to finish on the coast at Punakaiki, famous for its pancake-like rock formations. Sleep in strategically located purpose-built huts along the way. This self-guided walk has everything uniquely west coast and more.


Make your own way to Greymouth on the west coast and check-in to your trip accommodation any time after 2:00pm. You should allow enough time to purchase your lunch and snack supplies for the next three days. There are conveniently located supermarkets that are usually open until about 8:00pm daily. Your meal pack with breakfasts and dinners for the walk, plus cooking pot and accessories, should be waiting for you at the accommodation. Please ask reception upon check-in.

Meals:  Nil

Shuttle pick up is at 8am at your trip accommodation. Board your shuttle vehicle and transfer to Smoke-ho trail-head, at the southern end of the Paparoa Track. Pass through the quirky village of Blackball on the way, once a thriving settlement based on coal mining with a colourful history of unions and radicalism. It was also the terminus for a railway line from 1910 to 1966. The first and steepest section of the track climbs from about 400m above sea level to around 1100m above sea level and will challenge your legs. It initially follows the historic Croesus Track, with evidence of gold mining activities from the early 1900's, through beech and podocarp forest. Pass historic Croesus Top Hut and DOC Great Walks Ces Clark Hut before emerging from the forest into alpine scrub and tussock. From the open escarpment it is possible on a clear day to see Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, to the south and the Tasman Sea to the west. Overnight at Moonlight Tops Hut, with panoramic views across Paparoa National Park. NOTE: For anyone wanting a slower pace, an additional day can be added to the trip, staying tonight at Ces Clark Hut and continuing to Moonlight Tops Hut the following day. Several side trips are possible when adding an extra day.

Meals:  D

Wake to the feeling you are on top of the world this morning. Enjoy this sublime location before setting off on the track once again. Walking along the escarpment of the Paparoa Range with expansive views of steep limestone cliffs and impenetrable wilderness, with the ocean far beyond, is truly breathtaking. Admire the skills of those who built this incredible track as you hug the ridgeline. Take a moment also to admire the tenacity of those who worked the coal mines in such a rugged environment, remembering the men who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine tragedy. Further along the track, descend from the escarpment through podocarp forest to reach Pororari Hut, the destination for today. NOTE: The Pike 29 Memorial Track, currently under construction, has been named in honour of the twenty nine men killed in 2010 when a tunnel in the Pike River Mine collapsed. At the families' wishes, the mine site and surrounding area has become part of Paparoa National Park. Once the track opens it will join the main Paparoa Track with options then to take a side trip to visit the interpretation center and memorial at the former mine site.

Meals:  B,D

The track today is all downhill, following the Pororari River Valley and Gorge. Initially following an old track from an attempt at early settlement in the valley, descend through beech forest and sidle along a magnificent gorge sculpted from limestone. Pass an impressive suspension bridge, worthy of a photo, leading off to the Inland Pack Track - an historic trail from the gold mining era. Continue through the stunning lower Pororari River Gorge, following the river as it ebbs and flows into deep pools and around enormous rocks. Beautiful rainforest and nikau palms give a sense of the almost tropical as you finish the walk. Meet your shuttle transfer here at 3pm for the return trip to Greymouth.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 1 night motel accommodation in Greymouth (twinshare) with private bathroom
  • 2 nights Department of Conservation (DOC) Great Walk hut in multishare bunk rooms with shared outside toilet
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners (Radix Nutrition meals)
  • Transfers from Greymouth to southern end track start, 8 am pick up
  • Transfers from Punakaiaki to Greymouth at track finish, departs 3pm
  • Cooking pot
  • Hot drinks pack including tea/coffee/hot chocolate
  • Drinking water (available from hotels and DOC huts)
  • Rubbish bag, toilet paper
  • Route notes and map
  • $20 per person donation to Paparoa Wildlife Trust (see www.pwt.org.nz)

  • Travel to Greymouth on Day 1 and from Greymouth after trip arrangements end on Day 4
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary and trail snacks
  • Drinks other than water, tea/coffee/hot chocolate - good drinking water is available at each night's accommodation
  • Optional activities, extras and upgrades
  • Items of a personal nature (eg. laundry, shopping, internet)
  • Excess luggage storage (can be arranged at Greymouth for a small fee)
  • Hiking pack, sleeping bag, mug/cup & spoon
  • Vehicle relocation between trailheads if self-driving (we can arrange this for additional cost - note that special conditions apply to rental vehicles)
  • Car parking in Greymouth if self-driving and using the included transfer service between trailheads
  • Personal Locator Beacon (highly recommended)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Trail Surface




MODERATE - GRADE 5 These adventures involves trekking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day, on average, at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. The trek involves carrying a full pack around 12 - 15kg. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions and uneven terrain. Suggested preparation: We recommend 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to four times a week. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling - good cardiovascular exercise. Hill or stair walking with a loaded pack is also highly recommended at least once a week in variable weather conditions.

Departure dates

Daily departures 1 October to 27 June 2024


A PLB, Sleeping bags, hiking packs and eating utensils are all available for hire. An extra day on the track can also be added if you prefer to take things more slowly. Additional cost applies.
We recommend minimum 2 people for this trip for safety reasons. However, solo travellers with good hiking experience in remote areas with changeable weather will find it achievable.
Transfers prior to 25 December require minimum numbers - if at the time of travel minimum numbers have not been reached on the transfers, additional fees will apply

Want to organise a customised tour?

School groups, friends, family trips, corporate events and even making the trail accessible for everyone. Learn how you can organise a Customised Tour with Great Walks of New Zealand.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Excess luggage storage- per pieceNZD$11
  • Sleeping bag hireNZD$50
  • Backpack hire size 50 - 75LNZD$50
  • PLB hire - per groupNZD$50
  • Extra day on Paparoa Track, incl dinner and breakfastNZD$100
  • Single supplement (Greymouth only)NZD$220
*Prices listed are per person and also from

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Paparoa Track Self-Guided Hike trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

Trip reviews

Why walk with us

Self-Guided Experts

Our itineraries have been carefully designed and researched with you in mind.  The logistics are handled for you allowing you the freedom to walk New Zealand at a level of your choosing and in your own stride.


A core Maori value exercising guardianship in relation to nature, flora and fauna and its people, ensuring that sustainability and environment are valued, respected and protected for future generations to enjoy.

Supporting Local

As a small business ourselves, we love supporting and sharing New Zealand with other small and likeminded businesses and communities to showcase for you, what our land and people have to offer.

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