We are so lucky to have the most recent Great Walk, The Paparoa Track as part of our big backyard. It is New Zealand’s first purpose built dual purpose hiking and cycling track. Just up the road at Punakaiki – an easy 20 minute drive and we’re parked up at the start of the trail, bikes unloaded and ready to go.
The trail is 55kms in length in total with most riding it from Blackball to Punakaiki. It is a well graded trail for the most part but is Grade 4 as is narrow in parts, has steep and long climbs and descents but the scenery is magnificient.
For us being able to ride from the Punakaiki end means we can pop out for a morning or afternoon pedal – or the case may be a slog. The only drawback is it does start with a hard climb as it heads up and over from the Punakaiki River valley to the Pororari River valley. Once into the Pororari Valley though it is a fun ride – undulating following the river up into the river gorge passing through beech forest and subtropical nikau palm trees. There are avenues of Rimu trees as it climbs up with views to dramatic limestone cliffs and the river below.
We’ve been up to the Pororari Hut a couple of times but for an afternoon jaunt we generally just go to the gorge to soak up the views before heading back out again. Makes it a good 2 hour ride for us – well removed from our beachfront location at home and fully immersed in lush NZ rain forest.
So lucky here on the West Coast to have the best of both worlds – all worlds really with beautiful farmland, rolling hills, snow capped mountains, NZ native bush and miles and miles of beaches.
While the ride starts with a grunty climb it does mean it finishes with a fun downhill back to the car. With big smiles on our faces another ride done. Time to head home, put our feet up and watch the sunset.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Coast Road north of Greymouth and just 30 kms south of Punakaiki. Beachfront location overlooking the Tasman Sea. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring and sharing their love of the West Coast – their big backyard they are lucky enough to call home. We have a great Package deal at Breakers on offer for anyone wanting to hike/cycle the Paparoa Track adding a touch of luxury for your pre and post accommodation.