Pororari River Track short walk, Paparoa National Park, Westland NZ

Very attractive river, gorge and forest scenery on this short and easy section of the Pororari River Track near Punakaiki, Westland. There are longer options available too.

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park

The Pororari River Track is another of the side of the road short walks that we did by chance on NZ’s West Coast. Like the nearby Truman Track this turned out to be a great little walk, taking in some fabulous river, gorge and rainforest scenery for very little effort. Highly recommended.

Track notes are at the end. If you want something longer there are bigger day walks to be had, and this is the beginning of the multi-day Paparoa Great Walk.

While in the area you might also like to visit Pancake Rocks, which can be seen on a very short circuit walk.

And here’s a few shots to start from the road bridge near the start of the track. There was a bit of mist about at first although this cleared when we started walking.

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
The Pororari River viewed from the road bridge.
Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
The Pororari River viewed from the road bridge.
Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
The nikau palms were flourishing here.
Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
Very lush.

Pororari River Track short walk: The Scenery

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
Tall cliffs.
Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
Kiekie climbing a nikau palm.

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
Nikau palms

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
This bend in the river was picturesque. There were a couple of goats down there taking it easy.
Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park
The rata were just beginning to bloom, although this specimen looked to be more advanced than others.

Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park Pororari River Track to Lookout, Paparoa National Park

Track Notes

The track starts just on the edge of the small settlement of Punakaiki. It’s an easygoing constructed track the whole way. You can choose how far to go, and in fact I think we went further than we needed to get the most interesting gorge and river views. Thirty minutes to an hour return should be plenty of time. There is further information on other longer options on the DOC website.

Map of short walks near Punakaiki
All three of these short walks near Punakaiki are on constructed and obvious tracks. The Truman Track and Pancake Rocks Circuit are very short. I don’t actually know how far we went on the Pororari River Track (which continues to be longer day walk and also a multi-day walk), but 30 minutes to an hour return should be enough time.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

2 thoughts on “Pororari River Track short walk, Paparoa National Park, Westland NZ”

  1. Thanks for describing this easy and beautiful track. Plans for getting to N.Z. were dashed in 2020 but fingers crossed for this year. I have not been to N.Z. since 1974 and look forwarding to a return visit. As I travel alone and am not young any more, it is great to be aware of the doable tracks. Thanks so much for your post. Del from Australia.

    1. Hi Del. Thanks for your feedback 😀. My blog is a bit weighted towards rather long hikes of increasing difficulty as I get more and more obsessed with reaching far flung places, but we did about six short walks on the West Coast and am just working way through these on a few rainy days in Queenstown. They would be enough to fill two days on a beautiful road trip from Westport to Glacier Country. I didn’t visit Karamea north of Westport bit that’s supposed to be very beautiful as well. Just be prepared for rain and sandflies and you’ll have a grand time!

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