Photo copyright: Tourism New Zealand

West Coast Wilderness Trail

OverviewTrail Status: Partially Open

Greymouth — Ross (4 days, 139km)

In the midst of the Southern Alps on the West Coast lie a series of tracks carved by pioneering gold-miners. Today these old tracks, together with extensive water races, logging tramways and historic railway lines, form the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

This four-day cycling adventure reveals outstanding landscapes of dense rainforest, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands, with views all the way from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the wild Tasman Sea.

Attractions and experiences along the trail include gold panning, rafting, dolphin watching, jade, wood and bone carving studios, trout fishing, scenic flights and the West Coast Treetop Walk as well as the chance to view unique sculptures, glass blowing and the work of local potters.

The trail starts at Greymouth and traverses Kumara en route to Hokitika before finishing in Ross. Hokitika and Greymouth both offer a full range of accommodation, services and tours.

The historic villages of Kumara, Milltown, Kaniere, Ruatapu and Ross provide opportunities to meet the locals on a more personal level and enjoy some good old-fashioned West Coast hospitality.

The majority of the 132km route is an easy ride, catering for all levels of riding abilities, including families.

West Coast Treetop Walk

Located 16km south of Hokitika, the Treetop Walk is an exhilarating adventure among temperate rainforest giants. A steel platform 20m high and 450m long provides easy access to experience life among the birds high in the ancient rimu and kamahi tree canopy.

Thrill-seekers will want to climb to the top of the tower that stands 40 metres above the forest floor. The views take in the surrounding bush, the Southern Alps, Lake Mahinapua, the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea. A café is located on site.

Lake Kaniere

A West Coast beauty, Lake Kaniere is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offers opportunities for water sports, picnics, and short walks, including the track to the Dorothy Falls.

Be Prepared

Note: The West Coast is famous for its rain as well as its rainforest, but it does enjoy long fine spells that are ideal for cycling, especially in Autumn and Winter. It’s best to check the weather forecast before your trip and dress accordingly. During times of high rainfall there are some fords between Kumara and Lake Kaniere that may not be safe to cross. These can rise quickly and shouldn’t be crossed if they’re flowing high and the alternative, marked, high water route must be ridden.

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: There are many areas of the trail where there is limited mobile phone coverage, or none at all.

DRINKING WATER: Take a drink bottle with you as there are plenty of places to fill it up. You can buy water at any of the overnight locations.

Weather Info

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

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Jonathan Kennett, Cycling Author
The West Coast Wilderness Trail reveals a lush and vivid landscape, varying from the Tasman Coast to towering forests, intricate water races, mighty rivers and fascinating historic towns dating back to the pioneering gold rush era. JONATHAN KENNETT – Cycling Author