Alternative Biking Option for the Paparoa Track

Department of Conservation —  18/10/2019

The Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk, opens on 1 December 2019. It’s already proving popular and bookings are filling up fast. Moonlight Tops Hut, the middle hut on the track, now has limited capacity on many dates, particularly in summer and on weekends.

Keen to bike the track on a particular date, but can’t get a bed in Moonlight Tops Hut? Don’t despair – you can still mountain bike the Paparoa Track without stopping for the night at Moonlight Tops.


2 night, 3 day mountain bike ride, staying at Ces Clark Hut and Pororari Hut

This is a fantastic option for a slower-paced ride. Having two nights on track gives riders the chance to slow down and enjoy the stunning landscapes and rich rainforest of the Paparoa National Park.

Start in the early afternoon at Smoke-ho car park, then cycle up to Ces Clark Hut for the first night. This is a 2-3 hr ride, so it’s very convenient for people travelling that day and starting the track in the afternoon. Auckland in the morning, Ces Clark Hut that night!

On the way to Ces Clark Hut, you can explore the gold mining remains at Garden Gully. If you reach the hut with plenty of daylight left, there’s a walking side-trip up onto Croesus Knob, located approximately 2 km above the hut. There are spectacular views from the top, looking out to Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Tasman Sea. Allow 2 hours return.

The next day is a 5 hr 30 min – 7 hr 30 min ride to Pororari Hut, crossing the tops and the Pike escarpment. Descending from the escarpment to Pororari Hut, you pass through ancient podocarp forest. Relax on the hut deck at the end of the day, with a hot drink and a view towards Lone Hand, a striking rock formation on the north side of the Pororari River.

Normally mountain bikers will be hurrying through the final section of the track, between Pororari Hut and Punakaiki, at the end of a long day. With this alternative route, riders can take their time to appreciate the Pororari River – one of the treasures of the West Coast – and even stop for a swim. The journey from Pororari Hut to the Waikori Road car park takes between 2 hr 30 min and 3 hr 30 min.

Please note: this option is only recommended for cyclists – it is 8 – 10 hrs (28.8 km) to walk from Ces Clark Hut to Pororari Hut.

5 responses to Alternative Biking Option for the Paparoa Track


    Looking forward to ebiking this track, heard it’s amazing. No accomodation required.


    Good advice, thanks DOC. And of course the trail will be very booked up in the first year or two as we all rush to try it out. We’re riding it just after it opens and cannot wait!

    raewyn simpson 29/10/2019 at 11:26 am

    pity the bikers are filling up moonlight hut. makes it impossible for walkers to do this track at all as they need a ned here. anyway you can save beds for walkers trying to get 3 consecutive nights on the track!

      Kim Andrews 21/11/2019 at 8:14 pm

      Surely you just book the huts you need early. Most popular huts that have require booking that I have stayed in during peak times have needed to be booked a long way ahead of the tramp (or ride) so you plan your trip well in advance.