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, 3 & 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 2. 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 farming history of our early pioneers
- Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the Theatre Royal Hotel at Kumara
- Visit the west coast’s spectacular Hokitika Gorge
- Enjoy accommodation overlooking the wild coastline at Hokitika
- Visit a family run pounamu (greenstone) workshop
- Climb to the treetops and admire the forest from above at the Treetop walkway
Day 1 Christchurch – Kumara
The West Coast Wilderness Trail cycle tour gets underway with a very scenic drive over Arthur’s Pass to the west coast. Alternatively you can meet the tour in Greymouth. In the afternoon we commence our great ride of the West Coast Wilderness Trail following the stop banks of the Grey River then alongside the coast (28km). The trail traverses several small communities before crossing the Taramakau River and across the flats on an old rail tram line 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. This is the West Coast`s only restored miners’ hotel and was once a world-renowned theatre. We settle in here for the night and enjoy the warm community atmosphere and sumptuous food.
Cycle Distance: 28km
Day 2 Kumara – Hokitika
Today the cycle trail takes you through some spectacular forest scenery featuring virgin rainforest and massive Podocarp trees as well as serene canals and streams. At the 20km point enjoy a morning tea stop with your support vehicle beside the picturesque canals. From here the bike trail climbs the Kawhaka Valley to the Kawhaka Pass, featuring great views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The trail then descends through the forest and over the spectacular Swingbridge Canyon to the character-full ‘Cowboy Paradise’, wild west cowboy town. Descend the switchbacks to the Arahura River where our picnic lunch awaits. Although a challenging cycle ride, this 19km section is lovely and it is worth taking your time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The final 11km section of the day follows a gravel road across farmland and through native bush to Lake Kaniere. We ‘bus up’ and drive a short distance to Hokitika and our beach front accommodation for the next two nights.
Cycle Distance: 50km
Day 3 Hokitika
This morning we enjoy a little detour from the West Coast Wilderness Trail with a side trip 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 ride on a sealed road that gently descends across farmland to the township of Kokatahi. Coffee awaits at the local hotel before we drive around the south and eastern sides of Lake Kaniere. After a picnic lunch beside the stunning glacial lake we rejoin the West Coast Wilderness Trail. The next 8km section follows an old water race through native forest and is a superb bike 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 4 Hokitika – Christchurch
This morning we rejoin the Wilderness Trail from our accommodation. The trail heads south along the coast following an old rail line before heading inland on the Mahinapua Tramline through forest. The trail then joins a road for a short section to reach the West Coast Treetop walk (17kms). Here enjoy a coffee in the cafe before embarking on the skywalk. This is an amazing walk along a 450m steel platform suspended 20 metres above the ground, right up in the tree canopy, giving you an amazingly different perspective of the forest. Our bike ride continues as we enter the final leg of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, following an old railway line to the historic gold-mining township of Ross (18km). In Ross enjoy a picnic lunch together overlooking the gold fields. We depart Ross for the drive over Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch, arriving in the city at approximately 6pm.
Cycle Distance: 35km
5 May 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
12 Mar 2019
19 Apr 2019
23 Apr 2019
What’s included in the tour package?
- 3 nights twinshare ensuite accommodation
- 4 evening meals; 3 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
- bike hire ($170) or e-bike hire ($450)
- single accommodation supplement ($250)
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 2014)
Bob joins the team after retiring from 45 years in the NZ Police. Over the years Bob has been a competitive cyclist both in road and mountain biking, and is a former multi sporter, having completed in numerous 'Ironman', 'Coast to Coast', and other endurance events. Bob and with his partner Ginny have cycle toured extensively through Europe, USA, Australia as well as many parts of New Zealand. Bob has a keen interest in local history and looks forward to sharing his knowledge on his PureTrails tours.