GO NZ: What it’s like to walk or bike the West Coast’s Paparoa Track

The Paparoa Track, the first new New Zealand Great Walk in two decades, opened earlier this year. Huw Kingston took to it by boot and bike.

Just before we dropped west off the escarpment on the second day of the walk, I peered under the cloud into a deep valley, the valley that held Pike River Mine.

The explosion at this mine 10 years ago trapped and killed 29 miners and remains one of the darkest days in modern New Zealand history. The Paparoa Track is a memorial created by DoC in partnership with the families of the Pike 29; a trail from tragedy.

The Paparoa is the first NZ Great Walk to be added in two decades, the 10th in total, and the first to be purpose-built. The trail winds through West Coast ranges set back from the town of Greymouth. With access via slow, winding mountain roads, West Coasters are renowned for their self-sufficiency and a stubborn spirit hewn from the mountains to their east and distilled from the wild Tasman Sea to their west.

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