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Paparoa Track opening delayed

The Paparoa Track will feature extensive views into the national park. Photo: DOC

The opening date of the new Paparoa Track Great Walk has been delayed until September next year.

The $10m track was scheduled to open in April 2019, but DOC said it has been delayed as poor weather has hampered construction. The department has now decided to delay the opening to coincide with the start of the spring walking season.

“We had storms earlier this year which ate into the contingency time and the last couple of months the weather has been quite poor for track building,” DOC communications advisor Jose Watson said. “April was the latest in the season that we wanted to open it – we didn’t want to open it in mid winter.”

Watson said sections of the trail, and possibly some of the huts, may open before September.

Paparoa Track project director Tom Hopkins said the spring opening date will mean the first walkers will enjoy better conditions.

“The new date allows us to comfortably finish the track in time for the start of the 2019/20 Great Walks season. People will be able to book their visit online when bookings open in 2019.”

The 55km track traverses the Paparoa Range between Blackball and Punakaiki on the West Coast.

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.

The walk will be two to three days hiking and one to two days mountain biking.