From the West Coast to Tasman Bay

Published 2020-09-22

Can’t choose between the West Coast Wilderness or Tasman’s Great Taste trails? With this awesome nine-day itinerary from New Zealand Cycle Trail national partner, Once Upon a Trip, you can ride both and do plenty more besides.

The popular West Coast Wilderness Trail stretches from Greymouth’s historic port to the rustic old gold town of Ross. It offers mostly easy riding featuring rainforest, rivers, tranquil lakes and rugged beaches, with views of the awesome Southern Alps for much of the way. Towns and heritage sites along the way offer a window into history – from the days of the Māori pounamu (greenstone) gatherers and the glittering gold rush era.

Tasman’s indulgent Great Taste Trail is quite the contrast. Looping along Tasman Bay, its mix of rural, urban, coastal and riverside scenery is a fabulous feast for the eyes. Natural beauty, however, is only part of the appeal, with this trail serving up a tantalising array of tasty attractions – from art galleries and boutique shopping, to fruit stalls, cafes, craft beer pubs and winery restaurants.

Tour company Once Upon A Trip – a New Zealand Cycle Trail national partner – offers a terrific nine-day tour taking in both trails and plenty more besides. The package includes all transport, bike hire, accommodation and most meals, so all you have to do is pack your bags and get yourself to the Garden City where this grand tour kicks off in fine style on the TranzAlpine train.

Here’s the itinerary:

Day 1 – Spend the afternoon in Christchurch before enjoying a welcome dinner in the historic tramway restaurant.

Day 2 – Soak up spectacular scenery on the world-famous TranzAlpine train journey to Greymouth, then yet more on the drive to Ross where you’ll saddle up for the 3–4 hour ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail to Hokitika where you’ll spend the night. Highlights of the ride include Totara railway bridge, Treetops Walkway, Lake Mahinapua and Southern Alps’ views.

Day 3 – Enjoy an array of vistas on the 3–4 hour ride from Hokitika to Milltown via Lake Kaniere and the Arahura Valley. Transfer back to Hokitika, one of the Coast’s most charming heritage towns.

Hokitika's famous sign and sunset (Craig Wilson)

Day 4 – Recommence your ride at Milltown for the 3–5 hour ride to Kumara. Head over Kawhaka Pass, through virgin rainforest, and across a spectacular gorge. Stay at the beautifully restored Theatre Royal Hotel that celebrates its fascinating gold-mining past in fitting style.

Day 5 – Cruise along final section of Wilderness Trail from Kumara to Greymouth, a 2–4 hour ride through regenerating forest with views of the Tasman Sea. Then sit back and relax for the spectacular road-trip through to Nelson.

Day 6 – Ride Tasman’s Great Taste Trail from Nelson to Mapua, an easy 2–3 hours taking in the bird-filled Waimea Inlet, forested Rabbit Island and endless ocean views. Spend the night in the pretty waterside Mapua with its cafes, brewery and boutique shops.

The cute wee waterside village of Mapua – a Great Taste Trail highlight (Nelson Tasman Tourism)

Day 7 – Ride from Mapua to Kaiteriteri, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Highlights on this 3–5-hour ride include coastal and rural scenery, art galleries, cafes, fruit stalls and other places to sample local delights.

Day 8 – Board a water taxi to walk a section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, famous for its golden beaches, sparkling waters and bird-filled native forest. Savour your last night beside the sea in Kaiteriteri.

Day 9 – Transfer from Kaiteriteri to Nelson Airport.

Trip summary

Start: Christchurch Airport
End: Nelson Airport
Duration: 9 days/8 nights
Cost: NZ$2920 per person, based on two people sharing a double/twin room
Includes: accommodation; transport, shuttles and luggage transfers; bike hire; most meals
Excludes: flights to Christchurch/from Nelson; some meals, drinks

View the full trip details here.

Read more about the West Coast Wilderness Trail

Read more about Tasman’s Great Taste Trail

About Once Upon a Trip

Auckland-based Once Upon a Trip specialises in tailored itineraries for friends, families, couples and the solo traveller. Their small team of travel experts prides itself on personal service, attention to detail, and the ability to create trips for all budgets, abilities and length of stay. Trips can incorporate Great Rides in both the North and South Islands – Twin Coast Cycle Trail, Timber Trail, Remutaka Cycle Trail, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, Alps 2 Ocean and the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

Read more about Once a Trip here on their website.

Great Rides App

Take your trip to the next level by downloading the Great Rides App, New Zealand Cycle Trail national partner. This fantastic, free, easy-to-use app has maps, elevation profiles, trail descriptions and more, and also pinpoints the all-important picnic spot, country pub, or loo.

Find out more here.

Download the Apple App Store.

Download from Google Play.