Touring Routes

West Coast Wilderness Trail

West Coast Wilderness Trail brings you a collection of incredible scenery, smooth trails with loads to see whilst cycling!

CATEGORY

Cycling

DURATION

4 days

DISTANCE

85 mi / 137 km

BEST TIME

All year round


Day One

17 mins, 22.5 km

Train then Cycle from Greymouth to Kumara

Welcome to four days of Untamed Natural Wilderness, The West Coast Wilderness Trail.

Disembark at Greymouth train station and collect your cycle or meet your tour guide, such as Cycle Journeys, for making transfers so much easier.

You've probably heard some wild tales about the West Coast - of rugged shorelines, intrepid journeys, sordid stories, hidden treasures… But as the Coasters will be first to tell you, "You dunno the half of it…"

Now's the time to discover the last of the wild places and spin a yarn or two of your own, with one of the country's smoothest, most accessible and most popular cycle trails.

On your trusty bike you'll wind your way through ancient rainforests, along glacial rivers, around moody lakes and across some downright cracking wetlands.

You'll cycle early bush tram lines and water races passing former goldmining towns and workings, historic bridges and much more. You can do it all at once - across four days - or just nab the odd day-trip. Either way, it's a spectacular way to journey though alpine forests to the rugged Tasman Sea.

Departing from the historic Greymouth Railway Station, you'll set off along the mighty Grey River and past a working port, before journeying out toward the wild and wonderful Tasman Sea.

Follow the coast south, behind sand dunes and along tidal lagoons, until you cross the Taramakau. (It's a river… a bigee.)

You'll then wind your way along the historic Kumara Bush Tram through regenerating forest and new farm land. Towards the end of the day, you'll get some rip-snorting (impeccable) views of the Taramakau.

With a flat, cruisy day's cycling under your belt, you've got the night to rest up in Kumara!

Make sure you ask the townsfolk at the renovated hotel about the town's bawdy gold mining history. (In its rough, tough heyday it had a whopping 50 pubs!)

Stay the night at one of stunning accommodation providers, or dine and stay at the Kumara Theatre Royal Hotel. If you fancy a quick late night stroll walk on down to the Glow Worm dell.

Around Hokitika


Day Two

1 hour 27 mins, 58.4 km

Kumara to Cowboy's Paradise

Follow along the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Kumara to Cowboy Paradise.

Cycling: 36km, Grade 2/easy to Grade 3/intermediate (on-road sections are Grade 3/intermediate). 3–6 hours

After some hearty breakkie, grab your bike and head for the Alps. You'll pass remnants of the gold rush before arriving at the Kapitea Reservoir. Pass the lake then head on to the Loopline Reservoir and its 'spillway', for a close up look at the stone face dam that was hand-laid in 1883 by miners during the gold rush.

Carry on to the sweeping boardwalk that connects Loopline Road, then ride the gravel trail out to Old Christchurch Road. From here you'll follow water race, old logging trams and pack track up the Kawaka Valley, passing man-made dams and fresh mountain-water weirs.

Say 'howdy' to the Southern Alps, and when you reach the Waitaiki Reserve you'll begin your descent through ancient Podocarp forest until you reach a sprawling suspension bridge through the trees.

Nearly there! Day 2 wraps up with a journey through beautiful native bush, ahead of your arrival at Cowboy Paradise, a replica Wild West town.

This section's more challenging than Day 1 but the trail's stellar - making for smooth, comfy riding - and the few short steep sections are also the most scenic. So if you don't feel like riding, no sweat! They'll be just as enjoyable to walk.

Around Hokitika


Day Three

1 hour 9 mins, 31.0 km

Cowboy Paradise to Hokitika

Cycle: 36km, Grade 2/easy to Grade 3/intermediate (on-road sections are Grade 3/intermediate). 3–5 hours

As a reward for yesterday's scenic slog, you'll start the day with a smooth, easy descent from Cowboy Paradise. Cruising through the native bush and open paddocks of the Arahura River, you'll get some beaut views of the valley, and the best bit? You'll hardly need to pedal!

Follow Milltown Road over the hill to Lake Kaniere. At 8km long and 195m deep, she's a bit of a whopper - home to towering kahikatea trees and a stack of cheeky birdlife. Meander along the historic Kaniere Water Race (hand-dug in 1875) to Wards road, then veer back into the bush and follow the Hokitika water supply line to the Kaniere River.

From here, you'll then be able to soar along the very quiet Lake Kaniere Road, enjoying some cracking views of the surging Hokitika River. And, you're nearly there!

Kaniere Tram Road will take you out of the wop-wops and all the way to Hokitika, where you'll find loads of accommodation, some great art and craft shops, and most importantly cafés and restaurants that love serving tasty fodder to weary-legged cyclists.

Around Hokitika


Day Four

19 mins, 26.6 km

Hokitika to Ross

Cycle: 33km, Grade 2/easy to Grade 3/intermediate (on-road sections are Grade 3/intermediate). 3–5 hours.

If you're doing the whole shebang, sheesh, bloody good job - you're on the home stretch!

Start the day by crossing the Hokitika Bridge (yep - a very snazzy little view). Then meander along Mahinapua Creek, past the Hokitika Golf Links, until you join the state highway. Stay on this for 3 km, then turn off onto the historic Mahinapua Tramline.

This'll take you through wetlands, native forest and old mill sites, and give you some cracking views of Lake Mahinapua. You'll then follow a rural road past the West Coast Treetop Walkway (well worth a looksie), before taking the State Highway west to Ruatapu.

Fittingly, the final section of the trail is a little corker! You'll get a look at Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, and then the historic Ross rail route will take you over the Totara Bridge (built in 1908) and give you some lovely views of the tidal Totara lagoon.

Leaving the Totara River, you'll wrap up the day with an easy ride to the historic goldfields of Ross, where you can jump up and down and give yourself a good pat on the back. Or you can hobble off for a nice cold beverage.

Today's cycling is an easy journey, suitable for cyclists of all ages.

Stay the night at the eco friendly quirky boutique holiday park. With up-cycled accommodation.

You could make your way back to Greymouth to catch the TranzAlpine or you could fly out from Hokitika. The other option, which is not a bad option, is to drive the scenic drive through Arthurs Pass to Christchurch or the stay on and keep exploring the West Coast cycle trails - fancy a grade 4 perhaps.

Around Hokitika


Itinerary Map


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