The Final Stretch of the Paparoa Great Walk
The Pororari River Track
On a recent trip to the West Coast, we walked what is soon to be the final stretch of the Paparoa Great Walk. Starting from Waikori Road we walked up the Inland Pack Track until it reached the Pororari River Track, finishing at the Punakaiki Tavern. The section along the Pororari River Track will eventually be the final stretch of the new Paparoa Great Walk when it opens in December.
For those walking the new Paparoa Great Walk, the final 3.5kms on the lower Pororari track is the ‘pick me up’ needed after the end of the 3 day hike. This trail has been in place for 20 years in various forms, but the modern facelift happened over the past 5 years as part of DOC’s front country walks programme. This part of the trail is a beautiful gentle walk with few surprises, capable of being walked by most people. Surrounded by rainforest and towering limestone cliffs, the kaast system the river drains provides a beautify end to the walk.
Entry to this final section of the track comes once crossing the swing bridge over the Pororari River.
The trail has previously veered left and linked to the Inland Pack Track – a hike that would eventually take you up to the Fox River and the beautiful ballroom overhanging bluff. Overnighting on the floor beneath this roof has long been a popular pass time for trampers, as also has the diversion from the Pack Track into nearby Cave Creek and the tragedy of the 1990’s with the viewing platform collapse.
Where Do Riders Finish?
At the swing bridge, the two Paparoa user groups separate for their own individual finishes. For the cyclists, there is a final grind up and over the low ridge to the south of the Pororari River track to drop into the Punakaiki River catchment and a final swing bridge crossing and finish at the Waikori carpark.
For the walkers, the beautiful 3.5km finish exits at the DOC carpark – where shuttle operators will likely collect them, or a quick dash up the road to the nearby Punakaiki Tavern for a deserved beer and a meal perhaps.