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First section of new Great Walk opening this year

The Mid Pororari Suspension Bridge is the first major bridge to be built for the Great Walk

The first section of the Paparoa Track Great Walk is set to open later this year, as workers strive to complete the track by April 2019.

Construction of the $10 million, 55km track started in July. Contractors have completed about 8km of track, construction has started on two new huts and one of four large bridges has been built.

DOC communications advisor Jose Watson said the department plans to open a 16km section of track later this year but could not commit to a precise opening date yet.

“We really need to see how we go with progress before we can say with any certainty how much of that track we’ll be able to make available,” Watson said.

The section of track starts at the Punakaiki end and leads to the new 20-bunk Pororari Hut, which is currently under construction. Unfortunately, the hut will be used by the workers building the track, so it won’t be open to the public until the Great Walk opens next year and the camping site will not yet be developed.

The track will run from Blackball to Punakaiki on the West Coast. It includes 15km of existing track and about 50km of new track. This will include the Pike29 Memorial Track, which will be a 9km side trip to the Pike River Mine.

Two 20-bunk huts are being built on the track – the Moonlight Tops and Pororari huts.

It is the first Great Walk to be purpose-built as a dual mountain biking and walking track and it will be the only one to have year-round shared use.

It will be a two to three day tramp or a one to two day mountain bike ride.