Wedged between the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea is the 140km West Coast Wilderness Trail. Weaving through the dense rainforests, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands, a series of smooth flowing off-road tracks takes you from Ross to Greymouth.
Following the path of long-gone railways, logging trams, and water races from the mining days, you’ll soak up colourful stories from the past.
Our expert guides will show you the trail’s best sights such as gold rush relics, wildlife, and hidden natural wonders. You’ll also take a trip on the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys.
Character-filled towns, atmospheric accommodation and friendly welcomes are all part of the package, as is the passion and local knowledge of our crew.
Talk to us about e-bike hire (included in the trip cost), or bring your own.
- E-Bike Hire
- 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
- 4 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin share basis
- Professional qualified driver/guide
- 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
- Private vehicle transport (except for TranzAlpine Train)
- Entry to tree tops walkway
- TranzAlpine train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch
- Water and snacks while cycling
- Concession and access fees paid to the Department of Conservation
- New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Christchurch to Hokitika - 33km Cycle
Your adventure begins with the drive inland across the picturesque Canterbury Plains, and across Arthur’s Pass with its towering, snow-capped peaks. On the west side of the Southern Alps, we reach the old gold town of Ross, backed by ranges cloaked in native bush. After a late lunch, we’ll saddle up for our first ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail. A stretch of rail trail leads to Treetop Walkway where you’ll see Lake Mahinapua’s rainforest and wetlands from on high. We’ll then continue cruising through to Hokitika, a loveable little town fronted by a dramatic beach and famous for pounamu (greenstone) and other arts & crafts. And sunets. Two nights here won’t feel like enough. Cycling distance: 33km/22 miles
Hokitika to Lake Kaniere - 40km Cycle
Our ride today takes us inland through rural country to reach the bush-lined Kaniere water race – always a favourite for its flowing riding and babbling waters. Nestled in the forested foothills, Lake Kaniere is a grand sight indeed. We’ll follow it shores to reach the small township of Kokatahi where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch. Hokitika Gorge is up next. A short walkway offers a chance to see its granite boulders and swirling, surreal turquoise waters from many angles. From there, we’ll drive back to Hokitika where there’ll be time to explore the town some more and hopefully enjoy another West Coast sunset. Enjoy dinner of your choice in one of the town’s many restaurants and pubs. Cycling distance: 40km/24 miles
Lake Kaniere to Kumara - 55km Cycle
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. Cycle Distance: Lake Kaniere to Kumara - 55km / 34miles
Kumara to Punakaiki - 30km Cycle
Our final day on the Wilderness Trail see us riding north to Greymouth on a combination of riverside and coastal pathways. The old road and rail bridge is just one highlight as we head towards the town centre. After a café lunch, there’s time for a stroll around the town or an optional visit to the historic Monteith's Brewery. In the afternoon we drive the stunning coastal highway to explore Paparoa National Park. First, we’ll explore the Pororari River with its dramatic limestone gorge, then take the Truman Track through striking sub-tropical forest to reach a rugged beach. Our final walk is the leisurely stroll around Punakaiki’s Dolomite Point, famous for its Pancake Rocks and blow thundering holes. We’ll stay overnight in Punakaiki, a fitting finale for our final group dinner and reflection on our West Coast adventure. Cycling distance: 30km/19 miles
Punakaiki to Christchurch - 25km Cycle
Leaving the West Coast behind us, we’ll begin our journey back towards Christchurch. Before we cross the alps, we’ll get dropped off for one last ride along quiet roads to reach Moana on the shores of Lake Brunner. With luck there’ll be time for a refreshing dip (optional!) before lunch. We’ll then board the TranzAlpine, rated as one of the top train rides in the world, for an unforgettable journey across the Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains back to Christchurch. Cycling distance: 25km/15 miles