Croesus Track

Track category

Tramping track
Mountain bike - Intermediate
Mountain bike - Advanced
Mountain bike - Expert

Description

Time: 7 - 8 hr
Distance: 18 km

The Croesus Track crosses the Paparoa Range between Blackball in the Grey Valley and Barrytown on the Tasman Sea Coast. This is an ideal tramp for people new to tramping. The track is a beautiful and easy walk into the landscape of the Paparoa Ranges, with plenty of evidence of the local gold mining heritage. As you walk the marked track, you will see a variety of vegetation, wildlife and panoramic views.

View looking towards Grey Valley and Southern Alps from Mt Ryall
View looking towards Grey Valley and Southern Alps from Mt Ryall

It is recommended crossing east to west over the Croesus Track from Blackball as it ascends to 1200 metres via a well-formed and fairly easy track. The upper half of the western section is quite steep and rough before it descends onto a good benched track down to Barrytown. Snow poles mark the route across the open tops where route finding navigational skills are required. 


Views from Croesus Track and Ces Clark Hut
Views from Croesus Track and Ces Clark Hut

Smoke-ho car park to Ces Clark hut

Time: 4-5 hours

For the first hour of the track, trampers will pass through mixed podocarp and beech forest and cross a wire suspension bridge over the Smoke-ho Creek. The track then zigzags up the dividing ridge between Blackball Creek and Roaring Meg catchments for the next hour until you reach the turnoff to the Battery Track. The track climbs more steeply into subalpine forest leading towards Ces Clark Hut. On a fine day you will be rewarded with views of Lake Brunner, the main divide and down to Aoraki Mount Cook.

Garden Gully Track

Time: 45min return

Garden Gully Site. Photo: DOC Jaimee Fenemor.
Garden Gully Site.

This track comes off the Croesus Track at the Garden Gully Junction. Five minutes down the track trampers can view an old miner’s hut dating from the 1930s depression. At the other end of the suspension bridge the track forks out, on the left is a marked route that continues up the creek for 5 minutes to a century old quartz crushing battery. To the right the track climbs for about 15 minutes to the collapsed mine mouth.

Croesus Knob Route

Time: 1 hour & 10 minutes return

The turn-off to Croesus Knob is a half hour walk up from the hut. From the main track a rough route takes you up to the top where you are rewarded with spectacular views down to Mount Cook, and out to the Tasman Sea.View along the Paparoa Tops. Photo: Jaimee Fenemor.
View along the Paparoa Tops.

Ces Clark Hut - Barrytown

Time: 5-6 hours

This stretch is advised for more experienced trampers as across the tops the track is not easily visibly marked, which will be extremely difficult to see during certain times of the year. For the first hour and a half follow the snow poles across the tops around the head of the Ten Mile Waianiwaniwa Creek. Halfway across the tops the Moonlight Track branches off to the right, while the route to Barrytown sidles leftwards and climbs to the flanks of Mount Ryall (1220m high). Along this stretch you will also see views down the valley towards Aoraki Mount Cook and the Tasman coastline. For the last two and a half hours the track is marked down the ridge, and as you gradually descend, the vegetation changes from forest to nikau palms.

Getting there

Head north of Greymouth towards the Blackball township. About 1 km past Blackball on a sealed road to Roa mine is a signpost pointing right, indicating the gravel road to the Smoke-ho car park and to the start of Croesus Track.

Activities

Bird and wildlife watching Bird and wildlife watching
Historic sites Historic sites
Mountain biking and cycling Mountain biking and cycling

Bird and wildlife watching

Wildlife in the Croesus Track. Photo: DOC.
Wildlife on the Croesus Track.

The Paparoa Wildlife Trust is heavily involved in this area, monitoring recovery programmes for the great spotted kiwi/ roroa and blue duck/whio. The great spotted kiwi can often be heard around dawn and dusk at Ces Clark Hut. Blue duck can also be spotted in fast flowing rivers along the track.

Historic sites

Originally constructed in 1881, the track is an old mining trail through the forest with many historic sites along the walk.

Miners formed tracks up Blackball Creek after rich alluvial gold was struck in 1864. The discovery of gold-bearing quartz 25 years later resulted in a better track for transporting equipment to the Minerva quartz-crushing site.

The Croesus Mine was opened at the top of the range in 1896, however it failed and closed in 1903 due to faulting and financial decline. The crushing battery was shifted to Garden Gully in 1905, you can see it by following a short side track off the Croesus.  You can also explore mining remainders such as the 19th century alluvial workings and the remains of quartz mining machinery at the Garden Gully battery site.  

Mountain biking

The Croesus Track is Greymouth's premier mountain bike track.

See Greymouth mountain bike tracks for more details.

View a video about heli-biking on the Croesus Track:

Places to stay


To fully enjoy the experience of the Croesus Track and the Paparoa ranges, you are encouraged to stay overnight in the modern 16 bunk Ces Clark Hut.

Plan and prepare

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Track map

View a map of the Croesus and Moonlight Pack Tracks (PDF, 831K)

Gear and equipment

Wear study, comfortable tramping books.

Carry a Topomap NZMS 260 (1:50,000) series K31 Ahaura, a sleeping bag, cooking utensils, portable stove and fuel, sufficient food, basic first aid kit, raincoat, insect repellent and warm clothing including gloves and hat be prepared for sudden changes in the weather at any time of year.

Latest conditions

For track conditions, maps weather forecasts and more information on the area contact the local DOC office:

Māwhera / Greymouth Office
Phone:      +64 3 768 0427
Email:   greymouth@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
 

Dogs

The area around the Croesus Track is an important wildlife habitat - please leave your dog at home as this will affect the recovery programmes for kiwi and blue duck.

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Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

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Contacts

Reefton Visitor Centre i-SITE Information Centre
Phone:      +64 3 732 8391
Email:   reefton@i-site.org
Full office details
Māwhera / Greymouth Office
Phone:      +64 3 768 0427
Email:   greymouth@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

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