West Coast Wilderness Trail.
Venture into the wilderness on a bike

Freewheeling on the West Coast

West Coast Wilderness Trail


While the West Coast is big on backcountry biking adventures (such as the Paparoa Track and Old Ghost Road), there are also plenty of gentler options for day riders or freewheeling families.

Here are three of our favourite West Coast rides, with options for both guided and self-guided adventures to suit all abilities.

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail
West Coast Wilderness Trail

Riding a wide forest track on the West Coast Wilderness Trail.


Ancient rainforests, glacial rivers and rugged coastline

Alongside natural wonders, the four-day West Coast Wilderness Trail’s small towns and heritage sites offer a chance to delve deep into the region’s fascinating history. Do the whole thing, or dip in for a day-ride. You can complete the trail in either direction, but guided tours usually start in Ross and travel north to Greymouth.

Starting in Greymouth, day one winds alongside the pounding Tasman Sea, through regenerating forest and farmland – with a detour to Shantytown Heritage Park for those looking for a real taste of the region's pioneering past. Day 2 gently winds up to Kawhaka Pass, with sightings of snow-capped peaks and more remnants of the gold rush. Day 3, it’s mainly downhill to the Coast’s coolest little town of Hokitika, with the option of an invigorating dip in Lake Kaniere en route. Nearby Hokitika Gorge is well worth a detour, with its stunning yet surreal turquoise waters.

A great day-ride option for families and beginners, the final day’s ride brings bridge crossings, mountain views, historic tram lines, a tidal lagoon and more gold panning potential when you finally reach the quiet township of Ross.

Trail Notes:

  • Trail Length: 133 km
  • Grade: 2 (easy) with some Grade 3 (intermediate)
  • Class: Beginner/family-friendly
  • Cycle operators: Cycle Journeys; Kiwi Journeys
Kawatiri Coastal Trail.jpg Kawatiri Coastal Trail.jpg

The family-friendly Kawatiri Coastal Trail follows the Tasman Sea coastline from Westport to Charleston.


Wilderness, wildlife, and pristine wetlands

Wild West Coast scenery and local history meet on the new, family-friendly Kawatiri Coastal Trail that will eventually connect Westport with Charlestown (stopping at Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind and Tauranga Bay).

With the rugged Tasman Sea on one side and the majestic Paparoa Range on the other, riders will have many sights to spot along the grade 2, 55 km trail. Alongside stunning coastal views, there’s wilderness, wildlife, and pristine wetlands to be crossed via boardwalks and suspension bridges. Interpretive signage tells the story of significant Māori and European heritage sites along the trail.

Start out on the Pūwaha section, an easy 5 km ride through pristine wetlands from Westport to Carters Beach.

Keep going for 14 km on the next two stages – Kawau and Omau – and you will reach Tauranga Bay, home to one of New Zealand’s most accessible seal colonies.

Detour for: Carter’s Beach (a long, sandy swimming beach), Cape Foulwind Walkway, Tauranga Seal Colony.

Trail Notes:

  • Trail length: Around half the 55 km trail is open with new sections regularly added.
  • Grade: 2 (easy)
  • Class: Beginner/family-friendly
  • Kawatiri Trail updates
Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier
Lake Matheson - Fox Glacier

Saddle up on an e-bike from Fox Glacier for the ride out to Lake Matheson.


Bike and hike to a spectacular secret glacier viewpoint

Spot the magnificent ice flow from a new perspective on a guided e-bike and hike. E-bikes make easy work of the hills and winding rainforest trails, then your legs get more of a work-out as you slowly gain height on a secret track to a viewpoint with the clearest views of the glacier’s terminal face. Soak in the view and the local guide’s stories of explorers past, before descending via the same track to pick up your e-bike and enjoy the easy ride back down to Fox Glacier village.

Never been on an e-bike before or forgot to BYO hiking boots? No worries. The guides give you a quick lesson, and kit you out with all the equipment you need for the adventure.

More of an independent explorer? Self-guided e-biking tours are an excellent option in Fox Glacier too. Hire your rig for a half or full day and explore your surroundings. Must-dos include the 5 km ride to stunning Lake Matheson, famous for its mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, and the journey west to Gillespie’s Beach where 11,000 years ago you would have stood in front of the Fox Glacier’s terminal face. Nowadays you can spot remnants of a gold-mining ghost town, a seal colony and stunning views of the Southern Alps from the coastal tracks.

Experience Fox Glacier - E-Bike Tour


Admiring the views on the West Coast Wilderness Trail.


Cycle Journeys - West Coast Wilderness Trail

Cycle Journeys provides self-guided cycling packages on the West Coast Wilderness Trail. From self-guided packaged tours, bike hire and luggage transfers, to shuttles and accommodation, we have everything you need to ride the West Coast Trail.

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Amazing riding beside the the historic Kaniere Water Race's


West Coast Wilderness Trail - Gorge on Cycle and Scenery

Kiwi Journeys are excited to release the new ‘Gorge on Cycle and Scenery’ tour. As the name suggests, this one-day tour has it all, including a guided tour of the spectacular Hokitika Gorge and an amazing bike ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

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Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers & Glacier Country
Fox Glacier Guides e bike.JPG

Fox Glacier E-Bike & Hire


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