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Punakaiki-Pororari loop, West Coast

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Punakaiki-Pororari loopBeginner

Submitted by Katie Smith

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Trail Information





West Coast


Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush


1:40 (Slow)
1:10 (Moderate)
0:45 (Fast)



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This run heads up the Punakaiki River over a big swing bridge, climbing quickly into lush mature rainforest on a good track. The only real climb of the day is over by the 2.5km mark, then the track swoops down into the Pororari River catchment, where it joins the southern end of the Inland Pack Track. To extend the run you can turn right here and add as much distance as you like - the full Pack Track is 25km long. To continue the loop, turn left - the track takes you alongside the Pororari River with its stunning limestone cliffs looming overhead, in and out of small tunnels before popping out on the main road. To complete the loop, go left along the main road for 1km. Before you climb up over the bluff you will pass the entrance to Punakaiki Cavern, a nice little detour if you have a head torch. Then head up the bluff to where the track out to the blowholes and Pancake Rocks starts - you could extend your run further here but might find there are a few tourists sharing the track! Continue down the other side and back to the car park.

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Features of interest

Beautiful limestone formations and little caves alongside the Pororari River.
Punakaiki Cave is a short detour off the bit of sealed road - take a torch.
The Weka Wall provides fun easy sport climbing by the original car park if you've got the gear!

Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 50%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%

Sealed Road: 15%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Bullock Creek

Bullock Creek

Length: 15.40km

Porarari to Cave Creek

Porarari to Cave Creek

Length: 18.30km


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  • Access

    You can start at either end of the track but probably best run from the Punakaiki River end: turn down the gravel road on the right just before crossing the Punakaiki River if coming from the south, go through the farm gate and park either soon after the gate, or a few hundred metres further along. Alternatively you can park at the carpark on the right side of the road just after the gravel road and backtrack to it.

    Plenty of parking. Buses available on a daily basis.

    2 km

    4 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    As long as you turn left at the only track intersection you can't go wrong!

    Generally good.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Plenty from the rivers, small creeks also crossed

    The bits of track by the Pororari can be slippery after rain - areas limestone rock

  • Post run indulgence

    Punakaiki Tavern
    Nice atmosphere, reasonable food.

    Pancake Rocks Cafe
    Great pancakes!

    Fox River markets
    If you're running on a Sunday through the summer, head up the Coast Road to the Fox River market for some great coffee and a wander on the beach, or another run up the Fox River track!

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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