Last Updated: 27th Oct 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Punakaiki Loop

Pororari River to Cave Creek Memorial return via Bullock Creek

Punakaiki, West Coast

Submitted by James James

Last Updated: 27th Oct 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Grunt Factor: 18 ?

Gnarl Factor: 23 ?







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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush


Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -4.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







Start at the Punakaiki Rocks Tavern, heading north 200m, cross the road, and enter the Pororari River Track.

Continue alongside the river on the well-formed undulating single trail for 3.5km until you meet the Paparoa Track (Cycle Access) junction. From here continue upriver for another 300m where you find a swingbridge.

Cross here and regain the single trail that will gradually gain height over the course of 5.5km until it hits a 4WD track and the turn-off point to descend into Cave Creek and the memorial. Continuing NW to a locked gate that takes you to the junction of Bullock Creek Road.

From here you follow the 4WD track as with winds itself out over the course of another 5-6km before reaching the State Highway once again.

Cross the road here and follow the roadside trail that takes you back to the Pororari River Bridge and the Punakaiki Rocks Tavern a short distance down the road where you can rehydrate and enjoy a nice meal.

Cave Creek Memorial.

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Ample parking at the Tavern or at the Pororari River bridge carpark.

1 minutes




Route travels anti-clockwise.


Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

River water containing tannin: an unappealing color, and it's always recommended to treat water before drinking.


Exposed tree roots in some places.

Punakaiki Rocks Tavern

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

Trail Legend

Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee

has completed Punakaiki Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

This is an incredible run. I first experienced ave Creek in the mid 90's, just 3 months before the awful tragedy. Still seems like yesterday and still seems very surreal and just so sad. Have been back a couple of times more recently. Haunting at the accident site but a wonderful loop of pristine NZ

Tony Sharpe

October 30, 2023

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail 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 activity for each.

Bullock Creek

Bullock Creek

Length: 15.4km

Level: Beginner

Porarari to Cave Creek

Porarari to Cave Creek

Length: 18.3km

Level: Beginner

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Tiropahi Trail

Tiropahi Trail

Length: 19.5km

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The Paparoa

The Paparoa

Length: 55.0km

Level: Intermediate

Punakaiki-Pororari loop

Punakaiki-Pororari loop

Length: 11.0km

Level: Beginner

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