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5 Day West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

About 183 km Cycling Distance

Days
5

Pricing From
$1995

South Island
Book Now

Overview

Nestled between the snow kissed peaks of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea is one of the most diverse, rugged and picturesque landscapes of the South Island. Weaving through the dense rainforests, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands is the scenic West Coast Wilderness Trail, a graded cycle trail which has been formed from several tracks formed by the first gold rush miners, as well as extensive water races, logging tramways and fascinating historic railway lines. This new trail makes it possible for us to visit some of the wildest and most amazing natural settings along the West Coast and cyclists of all abilities can enjoy all this region has to offer.

This supported trip along the West Coast Wilderness Trail will take you past all the best highlights along all 140km. We will also be able to visit some nearby must-see attractions by making slight detours here and there. Starting in Christchurch, we make our way across the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass and start our ride along the peaceful back country trails around Lake Brunner. We give the bikes a break and enjoy a treetop canopy walk before continuing along the coast to Hokitika. Hereafter, we will travel inland to the superb setting of Lake Kaniere snuggled up against the Southern Alps. After making our way along some swing bridges and switchback climbs, it's really all downhill until you reach your accommodation at the wonderfully restored historical Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara. Once you get here, it's time to sample some of the finest offerings at Monteaths Brewery as you make your way to Greymouth. We then return to Christchurch, where the trip is concluded, board the Tranzalpine Express and enjoy one of the greatest train rides in the world.

Trip Highlights

  • Take in the rugged coastlines, pristine lakes and alpine landscapes of the West Coast
  • Admire NZ's native birds and forest from a Treetop Walkway
  • Walk the unmissable trails of the Pororari River and Truman Track
  • Spend a night in a charming historic hotel
  • Explore the ancient Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
  • Travel on the TranzAlpine Express, one of the top 10 train journeys in the world

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail, New Zealand

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail, New Zealand

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to HokitikaCycle Distance 33km

At 08:00am we collect you from a central Christchurch location for a bike fitting and briefing at our depot.

We then start our drive (approx 4hours) across the spectacular Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass, dropping down to the beautiful bush-covered coastal region on the other side, and on to the coastal gold mining town of Ross, where we enjoy a late lunch at a local cafe before starting our first ride on the West Coast Wilderness trail. We follow the cycleway north to Hokitika, with a stop at the tree top walkway, to experience a unique treetop adventure walking on custom built platforms among temperate rainforest giants.

The Southern Alps provide an awesome backdrop for our approach to Hokitika, a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. We stay here for the next two nights.

Meals: L,D

Day 2Lake Kaniere & Hokitika GorgeCycle Distance 40km

Today we continue on the Wilderness trail, which takes us through small townships and farms, joining the old Kaniere water race for a time, before leading us to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kaniere. From here we explore the rural roads that circumnavigate it, ending our riding in the small township of Kokatahi, where we have a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon we will enjoy a short walk by the vivid turquoise water of the Hokitika river in a magnificent granite gorge surrounded by lush native bush. From here we load up and drive back into Hokitika for a second night.

There will be time to explore the town and later for a walk on the beach to admire a stunning West Coast sunset (if conditions are right). You will be free to make your own dinner arrangements. 

Meals: B,L

Day 3Hokitika to KumaraCycle Distance 55km

Today we drive back to Lake Kaniere and continue our ride through the amazing bush trails of this cycleway. Firstly on rural roads and then the dedicated trail that takes us to the coffee stop at Milltown, home of saw-milling in earlier times. The trail crosses a swing bridge and then a kilometre of switchback climbing takes us to the highpoint and more superb riding.

From here it's mainly downhill, as we follow water races, bush tracks and reservoir roads taking in the spectacular views as we gradually descend to our overnight at Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel that is our accommodation. 

Meals: B,L,D

Day 4Kumara to PunakaikiCycle Distance 30km

This morning we get back on the bikes for a final ride on the Wilderness trail into Greymouth. The cycle trail takes us alongside a beautiful river before crossing a unique road and rail bridge. From here it is a coastal ride into Greymouth where we enjoy lunch at a local cafe followed by an optional visit to the local Monteith's Brewery for a tour and tasting (own expense), or if you prefer you can use this time to explore Greymouth.

In the afternoon we drive the stunning coastal route from Greymouth to Punakaiki, where we enjoy a series of short walks that give us a full appreciation of the natural beauty in this area. First is the Pororari River trail (1-2 hours), this track passes through the Pororari River Gorge – a valley lined on both sides by dramatic limestone cliffs and bluffs towering over the gorge and river.

We then take the Truman track (30 mins) through beautiful sub-tropical rainforest of Nikau palms and Rimu before emerging on the rugged and remote Truman Beach.

Our final walk of the day takes us to the iconic Pancake Rocks (30 mins) that Punakaiki is famous for. The fascinating limestone formations began to form 30 million years ago and when conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes.

We spend our last night in Punakaiki, a fitting spot to enjoy a final group dinner and reflect on our West Coast adventures. 

Meals: B,L,D

Day 5Punakaiki to Lake Brunner, TranzAlpine Express to ChristchurchCycle Distance 25km

Waking up beside the wild Tasman Sea for the last time, we start our journey East and back towards Christchurch, but not before one more stunning West Coast ride. We transfer by bus and bike on quiet inland roads through native forests to Lake Brunner.

We lunch at a local cafe in the township of Moana, with stunning lakeside views and an option for the hardy to swim.

Here we board the famous TranzAlpine Express, rated as one of the top 10 train rides in the world, which takes us on a spectacular journey across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch.

On arrival we will drop you off in central Christchurch, where trip arrangements conclude. 

Meals: B

Cost per person

October 2019 - April 2020

  • Twin: NZ$1,995
  • Single supplement NZ$495

Optional

  • Bike Hire: NZ$170
  • E-Bike Hire: NZ$400

* NZ$50 per person surcharge applies for public holidays departures

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to HokitikaCycle Distance 33km

At 08:00am we collect you from a central Christchurch location for a bike fitting and briefing at our depot.

We then start our drive (approx 4hours) across the spectacular Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass, dropping down to the beautiful bush-covered coastal region on the other side, and on to the coastal gold mining town of Ross, where we enjoy a late lunch at a local cafe before starting our first ride on the West Coast Wilderness trail. We follow the cycleway north to Hokitika, with a stop at the tree top walkway, to experience a unique treetop adventure walking on custom built platforms among temperate rainforest giants.

The Southern Alps provide an awesome backdrop for our approach to Hokitika, a quiet coastal town known for the crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast. We stay here for the next two nights.

Meals: L,D

Day 2Lake Kaniere & Hokitika GorgeCycle Distance 40km

Today we continue on the Wilderness trail, which takes us through small townships and farms, joining the old Kaniere water race for a time, before leading us to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kaniere. From here we explore the rural roads that circumnavigate it, ending our riding in the small township of Kokatahi, where we have a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon we will enjoy a short walk by the vivid turquoise water of the Hokitika river in a magnificent granite gorge surrounded by lush native bush. From here we load up and drive back into Hokitika for a second night.

There will be time to explore the town and later for a walk on the beach to admire a stunning West Coast sunset (if conditions are right). You will be free to make your own dinner arrangements. 

Meals: B,L

Day 3Hokitika to KumaraCycle Distance 55km

Today we drive back to Lake Kaniere and continue our ride through the amazing bush trails of this cycleway. Firstly on rural roads and then the dedicated trail that takes us to the coffee stop at Milltown, home of saw-milling in earlier times. The trail crosses a swing bridge and then a kilometre of switchback climbing takes us to the highpoint and more superb riding.

From here it's mainly downhill, as we follow water races, bush tracks and reservoir roads taking in the spectacular views as we gradually descend to our overnight at Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel that is our accommodation. 

Meals: B,L,D

Day 4Kumara to PunakaikiCycle Distance 30km

This morning we get back on the bikes for a final ride on the Wilderness trail into Greymouth. The cycle trail takes us alongside a beautiful river before crossing a unique road and rail bridge. From here it is a coastal ride into Greymouth where we enjoy lunch at a local cafe followed by an optional visit to the local Monteith's Brewery for a tour and tasting (own expense), or if you prefer you can use this time to explore Greymouth.

In the afternoon we drive the stunning coastal route from Greymouth to Punakaiki, where we enjoy a series of short walks that give us a full appreciation of the natural beauty in this area. First is the Pororari River trail (1-2 hours), this track passes through the Pororari River Gorge – a valley lined on both sides by dramatic limestone cliffs and bluffs towering over the gorge and river.

We then take the Truman track (30 mins) through beautiful sub-tropical rainforest of Nikau palms and Rimu before emerging on the rugged and remote Truman Beach.

Our final walk of the day takes us to the iconic Pancake Rocks (30 mins) that Punakaiki is famous for. The fascinating limestone formations began to form 30 million years ago and when conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes.

We spend our last night in Punakaiki, a fitting spot to enjoy a final group dinner and reflect on our West Coast adventures. 

Meals: B,L,D

Day 5Punakaiki to Lake Brunner, TranzAlpine Express to ChristchurchCycle Distance 25km

Waking up beside the wild Tasman Sea for the last time, we start our journey East and back towards Christchurch, but not before one more stunning West Coast ride. We transfer by bus and bike on quiet inland roads through native forests to Lake Brunner.

We lunch at a local cafe in the township of Moana, with stunning lakeside views and an option for the hardy to swim.

Here we board the famous TranzAlpine Express, rated as one of the top 10 train rides in the world, which takes us on a spectacular journey across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch.

On arrival we will drop you off in central Christchurch, where trip arrangements conclude. 

Meals: B

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