The ‘West Coast Wilderness Trail’ showcases the South Island’s wild coastline and stunning forests and lakes of the West Coast.
The West Coast Wilderness Trail is a 136km cycle trail featuring a mix of purpose built gravel cycle trails and gravel roads. Our Pure Trails cycle tour also features a 19km ride on the flat sealed roads inland from Hokitika. While we consider Days 1, 2 & 4 of this trip to be Grade 1 cycling, overall the tour is rated Grade 2 due to the more challenging and remote riding on Day 3. However the trail surface is excellent which makes for enjoyable cycling.
The unspoilt and remote virgin rainforest that this west coast bike tour passes through will take your breath away.
There is a support vehicle available for the duration of the tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.
West Coast Wilderness Trail Tour Highlights
- Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail great ride
- Learn the gold mining and logging history of our early pioneers
- Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the Theatre Royal Hotel at Kumara
- Visit the west coast’s spectacular Hokitika Gorge
- Visit a family run pounamu (greenstone) workshop
- Climb to the treetops and admire the forest from above at the Treetop walkway
Day 1 Christchurch – Hokitika
The West Coast Wilderness Trail cycle tour gets underway with a very scenic drive over Arthur’s Pass to the small gold mining town of Ross on the west coast. Alternatively you can meet the tour in Hokitika. In the afternoon we commence our great ride of the West Coast Wilderness Trail following an old railway line north. The trail then heads inland through native bush featuring towering rimu trees, and on to the roaring coast at Hokitika. Enjoy exploring the township of Hokitika – the heart of the coast – and settle into our accommodation for the next two nights.
Cycle Distance: 35km
Day 2 Hokitika
This morning we enjoy a little detour from the West Coast Wilderness Trail with a side trip to the West Coast Treetop walkway, where we enjoy a walk along a 450m steel platform suspended 20 metres high, giving you an amazingly different perspective of the forest. We then head to the impressive Hokitika Gorge. The vivid turquoise waters will take your breath away. From here there is the opportunity to enjoy a 19km cycle on a sealed road that gently descends across farmland, passing the 1941 Kowhitirangi murders memorial, to the township of Kokatahi. Lunch awaits at the local hotel, before we drive around the south and eastern sides of Lake Kaniere, a stunning glacial lake where we rejoin the West Coast Wilderness Trail. The next 8km section follows an old water race through native forest and is a superb ride. The trail then rejoins the road and the old Kaniere Tram Line as you approach Hokitika, where you can cycle right up to our waterfront accommodation (15km). This afternoon take the time to visit a family run pounamu (greenstone) factory, and see the craftsmen in action.
Cycle Distance: 42km
Day 3 Hokitika – Kumara
The trail today takes you through some spectacular forest scenery featuring virgin rainforest and massive Podocarp trees as well as serene canals and streams. From Lake Kaniere the first section of trail follows a gravel road across farmland and through native bush to the Arahura River, where the trail leaves the road and climbs along well benched switch back trail to ‘Cowboy Paradise’, a wild west cowboy village. Enjoy the vibe here before continuing through the forest and over the spectacular swingbridges to the Kawhaka Pass, featuring great views of the surrounding mountain ranges. From here the trail descends the Kawhaka Valley to the picturesque hydro canals. Enjoy a picnic lunch before the final section of trail through to the historic mining town of Kumara. Here the first signs of economic revival due to the new cycle trail are evident. Galleries occupy refurbished shops and the recently restored historic Theatre Royal Hotel, circa 1876, takes pride of place on the main street, the West Coast`s only restored miners’ hotel, and once world-renowned theatre. We settle in here for the night and enjoy the warm community atmosphere and sumptuous food.
Cycle Distance: 50km
Day 4 Kumara – Christchurch
Today we finish the final sections of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, cycling on trails across farmland, through native bush, across the mighty Taramakau River, beside the roaring coastline and finally along the stop banks of the Grey River to the centre of Greymouth. Enjoy a celebratory morning tea together before returning across the main divide and back to Christchurch. There is the option of taking the Tranz Alpine Train instead of our vehicle, which is a magical way to finish the West Coast experience.
Cycle Distance: 28km
8 Sep 2018
27 Oct 2018
10 Nov 2018
26 Nov 2018
9 Dec 2018
21 Dec 2018
13 Jan 2019
27 Jan 2019
15 Feb 2019
19 Feb 2019
8 Mar 2019
19 Apr 2019
23 Apr 2019
3 May 2019
1 Jun 2019
29 Jun 2019
14 Jul 2019
4 Aug 2019
1 Sep 2019
What’s included in the tour package?
- 3 nights twinshare ensuite accommodation
- 4 evening meals; 2 lunches; 3 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
- Entry to the West Coast Treetop walk
- West Coast Wilderness Trail Maintenance Contribution fee
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the tour package:
- wine; beer; espresso coffees
- lunch on Day 1 & 4
- bike hire ($170) or e-bike hire ($450)
- single accommodation supplement ($265)
West Coast Wilderness Trail – Official Partner
PureTrails New Zealand is an Official Partner of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, which is part of Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
Our Guiding Team
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.
Tour Leader (since 2018)
Megan has a background in interior design and art tutoring as well as a restaurateur. She currently runs a design consultancy and an Air B&B by the beach in Christchurch, and is revelling in supporting, hosting and sometimes taking her guests out for adventures.
Megan has travelled extensively herself, both within NZ and abroad, and has just completed the Old Ghost Road (mountain bike trail) for the second time. Megan looks forward to the opportunity to show off NZ and share her experience, passion and love of the outdoors with PureTrails.
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.
Customer Service/Operations/Logistics (Founder and Managing Director)
Hilary is at the helm of 'mission control', and is the person who answers your call or email. After travelling the world for several years and working in tourism on her big 'OE', Hilary came home and fell in love with NZ once again and in particular, the South Island. With a love of the outdoors and marketing background she teamed up with her mother in the 'PureTrails'. Hilary enjoys photography, cycling, thai cooking, and being a mum to Josie & Sullivan.