The Wild West Coast Cycle Trail tour is a collection of West Coast cycle rides totalling 144km that Pure Trails have put together that showcase the South Island’s dramatic northern West Coast region.
This trip takes in a large area of the upper west coast featuring lots of additional sightseeing at places of geological and historical interest. It is a great trip for those wanting to get off the tourist trail and see the wild west coast, as well as enjoying some great cycle rides along the way.
The Wild West Coast Cycle Trail tour features 50% cycling on sealed roads, 32% cycling on gravel roads, and 18% cycling on a purpose built gravel west coast cycle trail. The riding is rated Grade 1 and there are a few gentle hills that can be skipped if desired, and there is vehicle support available throughout the bike tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.
Wild West Coast Cycle Trail Tour Highlights
- Enjoy 144km of easy West Coast bike rides featuring forest and coastline
- Learn the gold and coal mining, logging and farming history of our early pioneers
- Meet the people and hear the stories
- Visit the former coal mining town of Denniston and view the incline
- Discover the rainforest and limestone arches of the Oparara Basin
- Enjoy the arty vibe and Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
- Visit a dairy farm and share morning tea with the Coates family
- Complete your cycle journey in style on the TranzAlpine Train
Day 1 Christchurch – Greymouth
The Wild West Coast Cycle Trail tour gets underway as we take the very scenic drive over the South Island’s Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast. Our first bike ride [29km] begins shortly after our lunch, on a purpose built cycle trail, firstly through native forest and then along the wild Tasman Coast to Greymouth (30km). Check into our comfortable accommodation in Greymouth and take an optional tasting tour at the Monteith’s Brewing Co. – a west coast institution. Enjoy a meal in a hotel full of warm West Coast hospitality.
Cycle Distance: 29km
Day 2 Greymouth – Karamea
Today we head north on the famed and wonderfully scenic ‘coast road’, all the way to Karamea. Our first stop is at Punakaiki. Take some time to explore the arty shops, get a coffee, and view the Pancake Rocks. There is an opportunity here to do a short walk along a river valley lined with a limestone cliff through lush tropical native bush. Back in the support vehicle we continue north, past Westport, to Denniston, We ascend ‘the hill’ to the historic town of Denniston, perched precariously on a coal seam plateau 600m above sea level. Enjoy the magnificent views of the coast below over a picnic lunch. Take the time to explore the settlement before we set off on our second bike ride of the day. Those looking for an exhilarating challenge are welcome to descend the hill back to the coast in the saddle. Our cycle ride this afternoon follows the quiet west coast road north, which hugs the coastline and passes through a number of interesting settlements, ending at a local pub [36km]. After the ride we continue over the Karamea Bluff’s to the township of Karamea and our accommodation at The Last Resort in the remote and subtropical north.
Cycle Distance: 36km
Day 3 Karamea – Cape Foulwind
Start the day with a lovely coastal bike ride on a quiet rural road, fringed between the roaring ocean and the subtropical nikau bush, to the start of the Heaphy Track [14km]. We then leave the bike trail for a few hours, and head inland to the remote and stunning Oparara Basin. In recent times this Basin has been identified as an area of outstanding natural significance due to the unspoilt rainforest, magnificent limestone arches and complex cave systems. We spend a few hours here, giving you time to explore the area on the network of short walks. Following lunch, it’s back in the saddle for another cycle ride [11.5km], featuring open farmland and views of the bush clad hills of the Kahurangi National Park. We then head south again, through Westport to Cape Foulwind. Enjoy an evening of welcoming hospitality at a great West Coast tavern across the road from our accommodation.
Cycle Distance: 25km
Day 4 Cape Foulwind – Moana
Today we leave the coast and head inland via the Buller Gorge to historic Reefton, the first town in NZ to have a public electricity supply (from 1888). Get a coffee and take some time to explore this fascinating town. We then travel a short distance in our support vehicle to the site of the historic gold mining town of Waiuta, regarded as the Coast’s last great gold strike. Many rusty relics remain and there is time to look around before we begin our cycle ride of the day. Our ride [14km] takes us gently off the plateau through native forest, and out across the open farmland of the Grey Valley. The cycle trail then follows river terraces on the quiet left bank of the Grey River, towards Blackball (20km). Enjoy a refreshment stop at the legendary ‘Formerly The Blackball Hilton’ Hotel, before we make our way to the village of Moana and our resort accommodation overlooking Lake Brunner.
Cycle Distance: 25km
Day 5 Moana – Christchurch
Today we travel a short distance to another stunning lake hidden amongst the bush, well off the beaten track, and enjoy the last cycle ride of the trip. The route takes us along quiet rural roads, featuring a mix of native bush and open farmland, towards the mountains of the Southern Alps [20km]. Visit the Coates family on their dairy farm at Haupiri and enjoy a delicious morning tea and a tour of the milking shed. We return to Moana for lunch. From here you can opt to take the TranzAlpine train over Arthur’s Pass and back to Christchurch, arriving at approximately 6pm, or travel back in our van.
Cycle Distance: 20km
8 Oct 2017
26 Nov 2017
9 Dec 2017
13 Jan 2018
5 Mar 2018
7 Apr 2018
What’s included in the tour package?
- 4 nights twinshare accommodation
- 4 evening meals; 3 lunches; 4 breakfasts (indicated by B/L/D in the itinerary)
- fruit, snacks & morning teas on the trail
- the services of a tour leader who provides vehicle support & information
- cycle repair support
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the tour package:
- wine; beer; espresso coffees
- lunch on Days 1 & 5
- bike hire ($190) or e-bike hire ($450)
- single accommodation supplement ($300)
- the TranzAlpine train (from $119)
Our Guiding Team
Tour Leader (since 2014)
Terry joins Pure Trails with a wealth of bicycle knowhow driven by a lifelong passion of cycling. As Mountainbike Captain of the North Canterbury Cycling club, Terry is regularly out and about organising club rides for riders of all levels, and has competed in events across NZ and Australia. Terry has spent 30+ years as an Airport Firefighter with the Christchurch Airport Fire Service, and prior to that gained an apprenticeship as a Certified Automotive Machinist. When not out cycling Terry also enjoys tramping and the outdoors.
Tour Leader (since 2011)
Peter grew up in Christchurch and early in his working life spent three years in Twizel during the construction of the Upper Waitaki power scheme. A career change led to 35 years in the New Zealand Police with time spent in Central Otago and Canterbury. Peter was active in Search and Rescue for much of his Police service and completed two overseas deployments to Thailand following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. He is a keen cyclist and an active, if not always successful, lawn bowler.