Work on the Paparoa track started just over four and a half months ago and we've made significant progress in that time, though there is still much to do and a lot of hard work in front of us! After a wet spring, and hard work in heavy conditions the fine weather of late has been welcomed by the contracting teams.
A beautiful section of the new Paparoa Track, through a grove of nikau palms in the Pororari Valley
To date, just under 8 km of track has been formed, with gravelling complete over a good deal of that distance. We've also started work on the two new huts being built, and as we go live with this newsletter,the Pororari Hut has been made weather tight with roof, cladding and windows in place.
We've also finished the construction of one of the four large bridges on the track. Four teams of contractors are currently working on the project, one team cutting track uphill from the Pike Mine Site, another team working on establishing track in the Pororari River Valley, a hut-building team, and a bridge-building team working on the large suspension bridges. In the new year, a team of DOC staff will join the Paparoa Track project and start on constructing the track across the Moonlight Tops.
The Mid Pororari Suspension Bridge is the first of four major bridges to be built. Under the bridge is an excellent spot to swim on a hot day. The logs at the sides of this photo are windfall trees from Cyclone Ita, which occurred in 2015
The sections of track that we have been building are not yet open, but we are hoping to open sections as soon as they are ready in 2018. Before a section is open, we want to be sure that all of the safety considerations are taken care of, and that the presence of the public won't impact on the work underway. Until then, we're asking people to be patient and push pause on plans to explore the new track!
In the meantime, we've posted a Conservation Blog on the existing tracks that will become part of the new Great Walk. These are already open and they're the best places to go to experience a taste of what's to come!
Conservation Blog - Getting a taste of the Paparoa Track
Because the Paparoa Track is the first Great Walk we've built with mountain biking in mind, we've engaged the services of Hamish Seaton, who is well-known in biking circles as a top-notch track designer. Read Guy Wynn-Williams' blog post on Ground Effect for a behind-the-scenes view. Guy spent time with Hamish onsite getting a picture of the work.
Ground Effect - The Paparoa and Pike29 Memorial Tracks
Infastructure Bid approved for Blackball
The Minister of Tourism recently approved 34 applications for funding from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and the Grey District Council (GDC) was awarded $601,039 from this fund.
The new funding will go towards the construction of public toilets, signage and secure car parking in Blackball in anticipation of the opening of the Paparoa Great Walk and Pike29 Memorial Track in April 2019.
This funding could not have been achieved without the massive volunteer efforts of the Blackball Residents' Association who worked closely with the Blackball community, GDC, DOC and Department of Internal Affairs staff. This is an exciting development in Blackball which will provide fantastic visitor facilities at the doorstep of the Paparoa Great Walk.