West Coast Wilderness Trail
One of New Zealand’s outstanding cycle trails, the West Coast Wilderness Trail is a fantastic way to explore the wildness of the West Coast. It is considered one of the smoothest and most accessible cycle trails with only a couple of hills to climb – but you’ll be forgiven for walking this section as the views are beautiful!
Wend you way through ancient rainforests and along glacial rivers, picnic beside one of the atmospheric lakes, spot the wildlife through the wetlands, cruise over historic bridges and past trappings of the old gold mining days to discover what makes the West Coast so unique and what it is to be a true ‘Coaster’.
This trail can be ridden in either direction. Beginning or ending your itinerary in Greymouth is also a fantastic way to connect with the Tranzalpine Rail Journey to Christchurch.
4 Day West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail
Day 1: Greymouth to Kumara
Day 2: Kumara to Cowboy Paradise
Day 3: Cowboy Paradise to Hokitika
Day 4: Hokitika to Ross
Day 1: Greymouth to Kumara (31km)
After a good night’s sleep at Bella Vista Greymouth and a hearty breakfast to fuel you for the day ahead, it's time begin. The first day of a cycle trip is always extra exciting with the anticipation of setting off.
Today you depart from the Greymouth Railway Station, cycling along the mighty Grey River, past the port before heading south along the big stretch of rugged coast that’s tucked behind sand dunes and along tidal lagoons. Keep an eye out for the signposted detour at Paroa which will lead you to Shantytown Heritage Park (6.5km return) – a must-see if you want to discover some legendary stories of the pioneering days.
Back on track you’ll cross the Taramakau River before winding your way along the historic Kumara Bush Tram through regenerated forest and farmland, with marvellous views over the river. The leg finishes in Kumara, a great place to grab a pub meal – well it was home to 50 pubs in its rough gold mining days!
Day 2: Kumara to Cowboy Paradise (36km)
Today’s section of trail is more challenging than day one but you’re in for some spectacular views of the Southern Alps as you climb 317m to Kawhaka Pass. There’s plenty to see along the way including old water races, logging trams and pack track, historic reservoirs and man-made dams and weirs.
Your descent begins through ancient rainforest to reach a suspension bridge that stretches across a beautiful gorge. Continue your journey through magnificent native bush to our suggested overnight accommodation which is Cowboy Paradise, a small accommodation option way out of town.
Day 3: Cowboy Paradise to Hokitika (36km)
Today starts off with a cruisy descent through native bush to open farmland and splendid views of the Arahura Valley. Discover Lake Kaniere in its picturesque setting, meander through the bush to hear the bird life and see the waterfall or relax with a picnic break to enjoy your surrounds.
Onwards to Hokitika the trail leads you past the historic Kaniere Water Race on a really fun section of trail. The Hokitika township with its art and craft scene, heritage buildings, tasty cafes and beautiful sunset beach are worth taking the time to enjoy. Watch some glass blowing or have a go at making your own pounamu jewellery carving or take a stroll along the driftwood strewn beach.
The Bella Vista Hokitika is in a convenient spot to stay and rest up for the day ahead tomorrow. Park up your bike and stroll the 5 mins into town to explore.
Day 4: Hokitika to Ross (33km)
Grab a big breakfast in Hokitika town and cross the Hokitika Bridge with a backdrop of the Southern Alps. Ride along Mahinapua Creek to the historic Mahinapua Tramline, through wetlands, native forest and old mill sites stopping to read the information panels giving insight into the rich past of the area.
Further on its worth stopping at the West Coast Treetop Walkway for a canopy tour or a refreshment at the café.
Another highlight of this trail is the historic Ross rail route with its restored Totara Bridge (1908) and the lovely views of the Totara tidal lagoon, Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Your journey then ends with a relaxing ride to the historic goldfield’s town of Ross and a much deserved cold bevvy at the Empire Hotel!
Choose to transfer back to enjoy another night at Hokitika Bella Vista, Greymouth Bella Vista or head south to Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier Bella Vista accommodation options.
Please note this is a sample itinerary only, providing an illustration as to how you could enjoy the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail using Bella Vista Greymouth accommodation as the start/end point of your itinerary and the Bella Vista Hokitika along the way. For more detailed information on the trail, please visit www.westcoastwildernesstrail.co.nz