New Paparoa Trackpaparoa track escarpment 1200

Construction work is well underway on the country’s tenth Great Walk with the plan for the track to be open for Easter 2019. The track crosses the Paparoa Range, through alpine tops, limestone karst landscapes and rainforests, providing breath-taking views across to the Southern Alps and over the Tasman Sea.

Three teams of track builders have been doing the hard yards and have completed just over 18km of track of the 55km total needed to be built. The two new 20-bunk huts have been built and are weather tight but still require an interior fit-out, and three of the four major suspension bridges are complete. The huts are the first to be built in Paparoa National Park and will need bookings in advance, year-round. The track will be DOC's first shared-use, purpose-built Great Walk.

Times and distances for the route from Blackball to Punakaiki are:

Day 1: Smoke-ho carpark to Moonlight Tops Hut: 6-8 hours, 19.9 km

Day 2: Moonlight Tops Hut to Pororari Hut: 5-7 hours, 18.7 km

Day 3:  Pororari Hut to Pororari River carpark: 4-5 hours, 16.4 km

Pike 29 Memorial Track (a side track off the Paparoa Track): 4-5 hours one way, 10.8 km one way

Kahurangi National Park

The North Branch Graham Valley Road to Flora carpark was reopened during April in time for the Easter long weekend. The road was closed due to slips from heavy rain from Cyclone Gita on 20 February 2018.

The Cobb Valley Road is expected to be reopened to vehicles by mid-October after being closed after damage from heavy rain from Cyclone Gita on 20 February 2018. The approach to the lower Cobb Valley Bridge has been replaced and the upper gravel road above the powerhouse has been repaired.

Further work to be done is completing repairs to the damaged lower Cobb Valley Bridge and repairing and resurfacing the lower road. Although the road remains closed to vehicles with a barrier arm at the lower bridge, access is possible on foot or by bicycle at users own risk.

John Reid Hut has undergone an interior and exterior repaint during March carried out by Nelson Tramping Club members with funding from the Backcountry Trust. This was a follow-up from a working bee in January when the hut interior was renovated and a wood burner was installed.

Mt Richmond Forest Park

A small woodshed has been constructed at Mount Fell Hut by Nelson Tramping Club members during May 2018, finishing off the hut relocation and renovation project started in 2016, with funding from the Backcountry Trust.

Sources:, Nelson Tramping Club Newsletter, Nelson TC Facebook