Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail self guided on the 136km well made, purpose built, cycle trail with a few short road sections and some historic logging tram lines. The trail feature a beautiful mix of native bush, open farmland, serene lakes and the roaring Tasman Sea.
It passes through several small towns and the larger towns of Hokitika and Greymouth, which all paint a picture of the gold mining and logging history of the West Coast.
The trail is rated Grade 2, although around half the trail is on the easy side. There are a few big hills and technically difficult zig zag sections to negotiate. There is a weir to cross that is currently un-passable after heavy rain. There is reasonable infrastructure in the larger towns along the trail with lots of eating options and places to replenish water and food supplies, but little to nothing in between. Phone reception is an issue on this trail, with a remote stretch of around 40kms currently with no phone reception.
The West Coast Wilderness Trail is a 136km trail that features a mix or virgin podocarp forests, coastal dunes and open farmland. Despite the west coast having a high annual rainfall, this trail has been very well built with a nice fine granite chip surface which withstands even the heaviest of downpours.
Starting from Ross at the south end of the trail, the first 33km section takes you on a relatively easy ride on a through a mix of trail surfaces to Hokitika. There is one place to refuel at along the way, the Treetop walkway and cafe. After leaving Hokitika there is a 72km ride through to the next town of Kumara. There is virtually no shops or cafes along the way from Kaniere (just outside Hokitika) right through to Kumara apart from the offerings at the replica wild west shooting range and lodgings ‘Cowboys Paradise’, which is indeed very wild west in nature and can vary day to day (take cash and expect instant coffee). It pays to be self sufficient with all your food and water needs on this 72km section.
However this section of trail is stunning and a real highlight. After leaving Lake Kaniere (21kms from Hokitika) there is no cell phone reception until you are close to Kumara, some 50kms away. There is also a weir to cross on this section, at approximately the 69km mark. The high water detour route was washed away in a severe storm in March 2019, so now if there is any heavy rain in the preceding 24-48 hours, this section is impassable. If this is the case you need to make your way back to Hokitika and around to the Kumara side of the trail via State Highway 6. We strongly recommend self guided riders hire a personal locator beacon to take on this section.
From Kumara the trail once again takes you on a relatively easy ride on a through a mix of trail surfaces to Greymouth, 31kms away. There is a pub at Paroa around 11kms from Greymouth with refreshments available.
If you feel you may be pushed out of your comfort zone with the lack of facilities and villages to recharge at along the way on a self guided cycle package, you may find our supported tours to be a more enjoyable and safer holiday experience. We have a tour guide who drives the support vehicle with you (and our tour group of up to 12 people) for the whole trip, and organises all the meals and refreshment stops (including hot drinks) along the way so you do not have to worry about where your next meal is coming from or what to do if the weather takes a turn for the worst. Our aim is to look after you and ensure you have an amazing cycle holiday experience no matter what conditions you are faced with.
Our 6 day tour also includes further bike rides and travel through Punakaiki, Cape Foulwind, and Moana as well as a visit to a dairy farm at Haupiri, giving you an extended experience of the upper west coast region.
Our recommended West Coast Wilderness self guided package itinerary below features comfortable daily cycling distances, and a bit of a challenge on day 3, with time to relax and explore the sights of interest along the way.
All packages can be customised to suit your requirements, so you can add or deduct days to suit your needs. Some more budget friendly or luxurious accommodation is also available at some of the towns.
Day 1 Arrive in Hokitika, explore local area
Make your own way to Hokitika, or alternatively we can organise transport for you from Greymouth. Rental cars/public bus/flights/Tranz Alpine Train connections are also available from Christchurch. Explore the art galleries and boutiques of the town, a former gold mining town. Walk around the township and along the stunning wild beach and discover some of its history. Enjoy the local cafes and restaurants. Check into your accommodation for 2 nights. Opt for a sunset cruise on the beautiful Mahinapua wetland following the original route used by early explorers and gold prospectors with a local boat operator (see add on activities).
Cycling Distance 0km
Day 2 Cycle Ross to Hokitika
In Hokitka you can collect your hire bike. Catch the shuttle to the town of Ross where the West Coast Wilderness Trail starts. Enjoy a coffee and explore this quirky goldmining town before you head off. Begin cycling the West Coast Wilderness Trail, biking from Ross to Hokitika. Highlights of today’s ride include the 5 truss bridge over the Totara River, dating back to 1908, views of the snow capped Aoraki Mt Cook, the beautiful native forest and wetlands at Mahinapua, and the driftwood sculptures on Hokitika’s main beach. Stop off at the West Coast Treetop Walkway and enjoy a walk high up in the canopy of the rimu forest and a bite of lunch in the cafe. At the end of the biking head back to your accommodation and relax.
Cycling Distance 33km
Day 3 Cycle Hokitika to Kumara
Continue cycling the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Hokitika to Kumara. Highlights of today’s bike ride on the trail include the stunning Kaniere water race section, the serene waters of beautiful Lake Kaniere, and the Arahura Valley, home of west coast pounamu, visiting the wild west settlement known as ‘Cowboy Paradise’, cycling through remote and pristine native podocarp forest, taking in the stunning views of the creek below as you cycle across the Macpherson Swingbridge, views of the bushclad mountains across the Kapitea Reservoir, and cycling on smooth sweeping boardwalk and bush trail to Kumara. Check into your accommodation and explore the town of Kumara, seeped in gold-mining history from the 1870s gold-mining boom, and enjoy an evening of southern hospitality in the beautifully restored Theatre Royal Hotel.
Cycling Distance 72km
*Please note the section between Milltown and Kumara is currently not ride-able after heavy rain due to potentially flooded weirs. If this is the case a shuttle from Hokitika or Milltown to Kumara will be required (at extra cost). A 20+km return ride from Kumara towards Milltown will be possible.
Day 4 Cycle Kumara to Greymouth
Finish up cycling the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Highlights of today’s bike ride include riding on the historic Kumara bush tram line through native bush, the wild coastline and roaring Tasman Sea, and navigating through Greymouth’s fishing marina area and along the seawall beside the Grey River to the finish line opposite the Greymouth Train Station.
Cycling Distance 31km
ALL PRICING IS SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION AT THE TIME OF BOOKING.
Based on our recommended West Coast Wilderness self guided 4 day itinerary package:
+ 1 adult: $756
+ 2 adults: $439 pp
+ family of 3: $339 pp
+ family of 4: $296 pp
Other sized groups can be priced on request.
+ 3 nights comfortable ensuite accommodation
+ bag transfers on Days 3 & 4 (15kgs per person)
+ Hokitika to Ross shuttle (with bike)
+ Comprehensive information pack including local history; dining recommendations and contact phone numbers for meal bookings
+ bike hire: $180 pp
+ ebike hire: $345 pp
+ full suspension mountain bike hire: $345 pp
+ childs (24″) bike: $129 pp
+ transfers Greymouth to Hokitika day 1 or 4: from $30* pp
*A minimum fee of $120 may apply. Bikes can be transported for $15 per bike.
+ West Coast Wilderness Trail guide book $20
Booking Terms & Conditions
Once a self guided cycle package has been finalised, a quote raised and accepted, a 25% non-refundable deposit is required to secure your package. Accommodation bookings will be held for no more than 72 hours pending the receipt of a deposit. Bookings received within 60 days of the departure date requires full payment to confirm your booking.
Changes to your package after it has been finalised such as date of departure, or swapping a client name, will incur a $50 alteration fee.
Prices quoted are in New Zealand dollars. The balance of the tour or package price is payable 60 days prior to departure and payments must be made in New Zealand dollars. Payment is accepted by:
+ direct credit;
+ visa or mastercard & debit cards (add 2.9% surcharge applies);
+ international bank transfer (add $25 funds clearance fee);
3] Cancellations & Refunds
PureTrails New Zealand strongly recommends all clients, including domestic travellers, purchase travel insurance to protect against unexpected cancellations. Cancellations must be received in writing and the following conditions apply:
+ Cancellations outside 60 days of the tour or package departure date will forfeit the full deposit;
+ Cancellations between 60-30 days of the departure date will forfeit 50% of the package price*;
+ Cancellations within 30 days of the departure date will forfeit 100% of the package price*;
+ There are no refunds for changes on the day or any unused elements of your package.
* The package price is defined as the total quoted package price.
There are no minimum numbers applicable to self-guided packages, however the price of some items such as shuttle transfers may change depending on the group size.
+ Mahinapuha wetland boat cruise Day 1 or 2 $60 pp