The West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail & Beyond tour features the purpose built 130km West Coast Wilderness Trail as well as a collection of West Coast cycle rides totaling 93km that Pure Trails have put together that showcase the South Island’s dramatic upper West Coast region, with 223km of cycling in total.
This trip takes in 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 223km West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail & Beyond tour features 30% cycling on sealed roads, 13% cycling on gravel roads, and 57% cycling on a purpose built gravel cycle trails. Overall the riding is rated Grade 1.
Our vehicle support available throughout the bike tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.
West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail & Beyond Tour Highlights
- Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail, featuring native forest and wild coastline
- Climb to the treetops and admire the forest from above at the Treetop Walkway
- Visit the spectacular Hokitika Gorge
- Enjoy cycle rides at Charleston, Cape Foulwind and Moana
- Learn the gold mining, logging and farming history of our early pioneers
- Explore the small towns of Punakaiki, Reefton and Blackball
- Visit a dairy farm and share morning tea with the Coates family
Day 1 Christchurch – Hokitika
The West Coast Wilderness Trail & Beyond 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 Hokitika Gorge, where 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 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 (15km).
Cycle Distance: 42km
Day 3 Hokitika – Kumara
The trail today features virgin rainforest and massive Podocarp trees as well as serene canals and streams. From Lake Kaniere the first section of trail follows a 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. Continue 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 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.
Cycle Distance: 50km
Day 4 Kumara – Cape Foulwind
Today we finish the West Coast Wilderness Trail, cycling 28kms on trails across farmland, through native bush, beside the roaring coastline and finally along the stop banks of the Grey River to the centre of Greymouth. After morning tea, we head north along the famed coastal road to Punakaiki. View the famous 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 to Cape Foulwind. Enjoy 15kms of riding along the beautiful coastline, to Tauranga Bay where you can view the NZ fur seal colony. We then travel a shot distance to our accommodation for the evening and dine at a pub full of warm West Coast hospitality.
Cycle Distance: 43km
Day 5 Cape Foulwind – Moana
Today we head inland via the Buller Gorge to Reefton, the first town in NZ to have a public electricity supply in 1888. We then travel a short distance 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 13km ride takes us gently off the plateau through native forest, and out across the open farmland of the Grey Valley. The next 20km cycle then follows river terraces of the Grey River, past the Pike River memorial towards Blackball. Enjoy a refreshment stop at the legendary ‘Formerly The Blackball Hilton’ Hotel, before we make our way to the village of Moana and our accommodation overlooking Lake Brunner.
Cycle Distance: 33km
Day 6 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 20 km cycle ride of the tour. The route takes us along quiet rural roads, featuring a mix of native bush and open farmland, towards the mountains of the Southern Alps. 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 6.30pm, or travel back in our van.
Cycle Distance: 20km
26 May 2019
14 Jul 2019
1 Sep 2019
7 Oct 2019
21 Oct 2019
12 Nov 2019
14 Dec 2019
14 Jan 2020
28 Jan 2020
18 Feb 2020
17 Mar 2020
31 Mar 2020
28 Apr 2020
What’s included in the tour package?
- 5 nights twinshare ensuite accommodation
- 5 evening meals; 4 lunches; 5 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
- Farm tour at Haupiri
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the tour package:
Our Guiding Team
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 2011)
John has a background in human resources and has worked for mining companies in NZ, Australia & Papua New Guinea in the health and safety field, as well as a stint as a commissioned officer in the NZ territorial army. Nowadays John has semi retired to a lifestyle block near Rangiora where he aims to breed highland cattle with his wife Julie. Outside of work John has always been a bit of an adventurer, sportsman and philosopher, enjoying mountain biking, tramping, swimming and playing bagpipes.