Pororari River Track

Pororari River Track



42 Rankers Reviews

40 Face-to-Face

10 Punakaiki

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Walk through dense rainforest


7 km return | 2 hours return

Deep limestone canyons, jungle like nikau, huge rata and a swirling river make this walk a real distillation of West Coast majesty.


Pororari River Track is signposted 1 km north of Punakaiki Visitor Centre on SH6.


The well-graded track shortly enters the vertical walled gorge and weaves alongside the tannin-stained Pororari River.

A natural arch under a rata tree, memorable lookout over the river, forest and limestone walls and a dense temperate rainforest quickly make you realise this is a special walk.

Look for trout in the water.

A grotto with wooden and rock steps after 45 minutes is an easy place to bump your head and can be slippery.

The track concludes at the swingbridge, where there is a small rocky beach at the natural turn-around spot.

Return via the same track.

There are options to follow the Punakaiki River to form an 11 km loop, but this requires transport at the other end.


The limestone around Paparoa forms part of a syncline. The exposed beds above ground have been upthrust through tectonic movements, then carved by rivers to form the deep gorges.


Rata, nikau and podocarps are the distinguishing specimens lending a tropical-like feel to the forest.

This well-watered forest is true rainforest, but in a temperate latitude.

Be aware of the native nettle ongaonga on the trackside. The spines are easily recognisable and the sting can hurt for months.


Feature Value Info


DOC West Coast

Central government organisation


South IslandWest CoastPunakaiki


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 39.

Tim Struessmann's avatar

Tim Struessmann


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful native forest, nice river.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in March 2017

Jerome Cluzel's avatar

Jerome Cluzel


Ranking: 8/10

Super easy hiking and largely ahead of the time given at the outset. Beautiful view and atypical scenery!

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Loic Besson's avatar

Loic Besson


Ranking: 8/10

A free hike between forest and the Pororari River. A beautiful forest and a finish with the Pancake Rocks. Amazing view for this landscape. And the must: eat a pancake at the Pancake Rocks Cafe.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Cyril's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

Very nice walk along the river, with hills on both sides. When you wake up early in the morning, head to the top, the hills are in the clouds and it gives you a special atmosphere. Also nice for jogging!!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Richard Fox's avatar

Richard Fox

United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Lovely, quite easy riverside walk amongst the tree ferns with a few openings to view the other side of the river.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Gabriela's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

When done as a loop it is an easy half day walk. Through an almost magic Nikau forest all along the river, then uphill over the range, down to Punakaiki River. Back to Pororari carpark along the road.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Laura and Marie's avatar

Laura and Marie


Ranking: 7/10

Very nice walk along the river through the rainforest, beautiful views, mud on the last half - that was the bad side.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in January 2015

Douglas Dean's avatar

Douglas Dean

United States

Ranking: 9/10

Expansive stretch of emerald green water, a winding track with lovely mountain overhang and many swimming launch points.

Reviewed about 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

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Jacques Revel's avatar

Jacques Revel


Ranking: 9/10

Very beautiful walk along the river with magnificent flora, but short cut because of bridge works.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Patricia Revel's avatar

Patricia Revel


Ranking: 10/10

Very beautiful and peaceful place.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Daniel Danamer's avatar

Daniel Danamer

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Gentle flowing river surrounded by lush trees and cliffs. Very quiet and easy to access. Map available from the i-Site.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Dave Mertzig's avatar

Dave Mertzig

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing! Beautiful, awesome swimming, just perfect.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2013

Helen Dean's avatar

Helen Dean

United States

Ranking: 10/10

The walk was perfect even for slightly out of shape middle aged people. So beautiful with eye candy you hardly notice you are hiking up and down moss lined trails.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2013

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick