New Zealand Opens Paparoa Track, First New 'Great Walk' in 25 Years

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Pororari Gorge in Paparoa National Park is on the west coast of New Zealand. Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

New Zealand is known as an outdoor adventurer's dream. Countless mountains, dense forests and deep caves await those who want to discover diverse and spectacular landscapes.

It's why the country's Department of Conservation developed 10 Great Walks for explorers of all levels.

The latest multi-day walking track, Paparoa Track, opened in 2019. It's the first new Great Walk unveiled in 25 years. Located on the west coast of South Island, the 34-mile hike takes three days by foot and two by mountain bike.

The video below shows several of the breathtaking locations you'll see while trekking along Paparoa Track.

The Paparoa Track includes several scenic stops along the way. The path intersects with the Pororari River Gorge, which includes limestone cliffs, a beech forest and glades of subtropical nīkau palms.

The track also follows the footsteps of gold miners on a section of the Croesus Track, where you can view remains of a mine in Garden Gully.

There are three huts available for rent along the way that offer sunset views over the Tasman Sea and the Lone Hand rock formation. They have beds, bathrooms and kitchens.

Hikers will encounter many different types of environments
Along the top of the mountain path on Paparoa Track. patjo/Shutterstock

Although there's a fee to rent the huts, there's no cost for day walking or entry into Paparoa National Park.

The traditional path takes three days, but an extension to four days is possible if you add on additional explorations.

For mountain bikers, the Paparoa Track is considered an Advanced: Grade 4 ride. You'll need a certain amount of equipment, along with solid biking expertise to make it through the path.

To get a real sense of the Great Walk, take a look at the satellite view below.

The Ngāti Waewae hapū tribe are the kaitiaki, or guardians, of Paparoa National Park, and its native species and ecosystems.

This kaitiaki responsibility is passed down through generations and draws on traditional knowledge to care for the land, rivers and species.

The $12 million Paparoa Track was developed in collaboration with the Paparoa Wildlife Trust and Air New Zealand in order to ensure conservation and preservation were top priorities.

The first Great Walk in 25 years.
Explorers will hike through rainforests and atop mountains during the three-day hike. Wildnerdpix/Shutterstock

The other nine Great Walks also expand across protected lands throughout New Zealand.

These treks often are referred to as "an experience of a lifetime," and typically require reservations months or even years in advance.

Even with its short life span, the Paparoa Track has already gained rave reviews by some adventurers. As of late December, it was nearly completely booked through May, 2020.

This is the 10th Great Walk ever established.
Reserve your spot early so you have a few months to train before your journey. patjo/Shutterstock