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

Lindy Chinnery lives in Lawrence and is our most recent winner of two super Kennett Brothers books for completing a getSmart Survey for the Trails. Lindy is a real adventurer, having recently completed a 1700 km solo biking and camping trip through Canada and the West Coast of the USA. We asked Lindy to share som...

 

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If you’re keen to explore the idea of a manageable back-country ride, take a look at the super new Timber Trail website and learn a little more about one of New Zealand’s best mountain bike wilderness adventures. Since opening in 2013, the 84km Timber Trail through the Pureora Forest in the central North Island ...
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Ride the Wilderness is a Mountain Bike Ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail on Saturday 18th November 2017. This inaugural event offers riders the opportunity to see the West Coast beauty and all it has to offer while racing the fantastic West Coast Wilderness Trail. This super Grade 2 ride and has everything fro...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE:  West Coast Wilderness Trail DATE: 8 November 2017 ISSUE: Trail Diversion in place A minor trail diversion is in place on the Trail near Hurunui Jacks on Lake Kaniere Road from Wednesday 8 November, for a few days to allow Trustpower to prepare for bridge works on a shared structure. T...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE:  West Coast Wilderness Trail DATE: 14 September 2017 ISSUE: From Monday 18th September the Mahinapua Track will be closed at the Mananui Sawmill site. Cyclists will not be able to access the track from SH6. From the Woodstock Road cyclists can enter but will need to turn around at the wetla...

 

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TRAIL SAFETY UPDATE:  West Coast Wilderness Trail  DATE: 1 August 2017 Taramakau Bridge Alert - Cyclists are urged to take care when negotiating the section of the cycle trail from southern end of the Taramakau Bridge to the new boardwalk at the entry to the Greymouth Kumara Tram. Currently there is intensiv...

 

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TRAIL STATUS UPDATE Due to adverse weather conditions, Trust Power maintenance contractors will continue to work on the area between McPherson Creek and the Trust Power weir access road until 4 March 2016. In the interest of maximising safety and minimising disruption to contractors the roadway containing the Tr...

 

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Congratulations to the West Coast Wilderness Trail on winning the Bikewise NZ's Most Favourite Place to Cycle competition! Paul Sinclair voted for the Kawhaka section of the trail which traverses his very own property. Purchased back in 1976, Paul has always looked to preserve the historic tracks and water races de...

 

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The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail has had a flurry of media coverage over the last few weeks. One of the stories was about Ashley Cassin, a man who most certainly likes a challenge. Ashley who is from the West Coast pledged to ride the entire 301km Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in one day for Blue September, a month devoted to...

 

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Great progress is being made along the Ross to Ruatapu section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We think it might be prudent to mark this indelibly on your Summer horizon. This final section of the trail from Hokitika to Ross is 36km and follows a mix of new trail and historic tramline to the West Coast Treetops Wal...

 

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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