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A great walk like no other

Project: Pike Memorial Track - Paparoa Great Walk

Date: 2017 - 2019

Client: Department of Conservation

Location: Paparoa National Park, West Coast, Blackball


The Paparoa Track is the latest addition to New Zealand’s renowned Great Walks network. 45kms long and taking around 2 to 3 days, the dual use (mountain bike and walking) track winds through diverse landscapes within Paparoa National Park on the wild west coast of the South Island - from limestone karst ranges to rainforested valleys and weathered alpine forests.

On 19 November 2010, 29 men perished in an underground explosion at the Pike River Mine close by. Created in partnership with the families of those 29 men, the Department of Conservation and Ngāti Waewae (Kaitiaki of the Park), the Paparoa Track is a memorial to those men.


Nelmac was tasked with building the Pike 29 Memorial track and Moonlight Tops sections of the Paparoa Track. This was a highly technical build, with teams working in demanding backcountry conditions in a complex natural environment. As a dual use experience, particular attention and effort was made in planning and implementation phases to ensure the track appealed to both walkers and mountain bikers.

In order to meet strict timelines crews of three trail builders worked one week on, one week off throughout the project. Staff were fully self-sufficient, living onsite in purpose-built bivvy accommodation units to reduce travel time and increase productivity. A second trail head at Moonlight Tops was also established to optimise track build speed.

The Pike 29 Memorial Track build is currently on hold while the Pike River Recovery Agency complete the Pike Mine recovery project. Once that work is completed, our crews will complete the remaining short link to the main track.

In Short

  • Two section construction - over 16km of track
  • 15 months backcountry, self-sufficient work crews
  • 29,000 man hours
  • 70+ helicopter hours
  • Extreme conditions – persistent rain, mud, temperatures and wind
  • Three year project duration

Looking for a conservation partner for your next project? Contact Nelmac on 0800 635 622 to learn more.

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