Tramps and Walks on the Northern West Coast of New Zealand

Walks and Tramps

Walks and Tramps

The rich history of the West Coast is fascinating to explore. There is a wonderful range of wildlife and natural features that can be discovered by road, bike or on foot.

The possibilities are endless. Two National Parks, Paparoa National Park and Kahurangi National Park can be accessed easily from Birds Ferry Lodge.

Starting from Punakaiki and working North to Karamea, refer to the map at rear for locations.

The Pancake Rocks

Dolomite Point is usually referred to as : ‘the Pancake Rocks’. An absolute must for everybody travelling along the West Coast. The track to the Pancake Rocks starts immediately opposite to the Punakaiki Information Center.

There is good parking, public toilets, an arts and crafts shop and tea-rooms. An uninterrupted walk of 10 min is all it takes if only you were not being distracted.

Wekas, dolphins, the roar of the sea crashing into huge caverns, spectacular waterspouts out of the blow holes, nikau palm lined paths, sea scapes and a beautiful coastline.

Recently upgraded, and now with full wheel chair access. Allow 1 hour

Pororari River Walk

The Pororari River Track starts at the bridge crossing the Pororari River, one kilometre north of the DoC Visitor Centre.

Car parking is available at the bridge.The track follows the Pororari River upstream into the Paparoa National Park.

The lower section of the track passes through the Pororari River Gorge - a valley lined on both sides by dramatic limestone cliffs and bluffs towering over the gorge and river. Pristine Rainforest and birdlife. Multiple swimming opportunities!

Pororari River to Punakaiki River

Before there was the technology to built the coastal road from Fox river to Punakaiki an inland route was followed right through what is now Paparoa National Park.

This is part of the Inland Pack Track. Start at either the south bank of the Punakaiki river at the bridge or Pororari river bridge car park.

A pleasant walk with one, usually shallow, river crossing.

Detailed information at the Visitors Information Center in Punakaiki. Allow 3-4 hours

Bullock Creek to Pororari river

This is the middle section of the Inland Pack track and leads through limestone country. Do not stray off the track, the numerous tomos (vertical shafts), chasms and sink holes are well hidden by vegetation.

Start either from the car park at the Pororari river bridge or at Bullock Creek road. (off SH6) The submergence as well as the resurgence of Bullock Creek can both be visited, about 200m down stream from the ford and at Cave Creek respectively.

Cave Creek is sign posted. Allow 5 hours

Truman Track

About 3 km North of Punakaiki is the Truman Track. The effort-enjoyment ratio is very hard to beat. An easy 15 min walk leads initially through thick native forest.

The influence of the sea becomes apparent as the vegetation rapidly changes closer to the coastline and finishes in barren sandstone cliffs complete with blow holes.

The unvegetated cliff tops are extremely fragile and slippery and should not be walked on!!

A small staircase allows easy access to the pebble beach and huge caverns. Fossilized remains of sea creatures are easily found embedded in the sandstone cliff face. Definitely no safe swimming here.

While exploring along the waterline pay attention to the incoming tide, it may cut off your only way out

Fox River caves

The Fox River caves are about 1.5 hours walking along the north bank (true right) of the Fox River. Clearly sign posted along SH6, immediately north of the Fox River Bridge is a car park.

This is about 12 km north of Punakaiki. Part of the way is also called the Inland Pack Track, a multi-day walk.

To the caves the north bank needs to be followed all the way, the caves are sign posted. The last short scramble to the cave entrance leads over slippery rocks. Do watch out for the native stinging nettle: ongaonga.

The left top entrance leads into the “tourist caves”. The right entrance leads to a deep vertical shaft and is NOT to be entered. This is a beautiful walk and suitable for all levels of fitness.

By adding an extra 2 hours the Ballroom Overhang can be visited. Out of the caves, scramble straight down the bank.

Either cross the river and follow the south bank track or stay in the riverbed and enjoy the view. If you like, bring your tent and stay the night, the Ballroom Overhang is a wonderful campsite.

Enjoy the ceiling coming alight with glow worms when darkness falls.

The Fox River- Bullock Creek walk

The Fox River- Bullock Creek walk is the first section of this route. It is a full on day tramp with many river crossings.

You can camp at the Ballroom Overhang. Start from SH6 at the Fox river car park or about 6.5 km up Bullock Creek road at the gate. The track is well marked.

Detailed information at the Punakaiki Information Centre. Allow 8-10 hours.

Tiropahi Track

This is an old forestry railway embankment that follows the Tiropahi River through pristine rainforest.

Access is off SHW6 immediately south of the Tiropahi River 7KM South of Charleston.(Well signposted) 

Allow 2 hours.