West Coast Wilderness Trail

The Western Wilderness Trail is one of the 23 Great Rides under Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail.

Status: Sections Open

Grade: Easy (2) - Intermediate (3)

Duration: 4 days

Total Length: 120km

In the midst of the West Coast of the Southern Alps, along the Great Alpine Fault, lie a series of tracks carved by pioneering gold rush miners. Today these old tracks, together with extensive water races, logging tramways and later short length railway lines, form the Westland Wilderness Trail.

This four day cycle adventure will offer an outstanding landscape ride through dense rainforest, past glacial rivers and lakes, through wetlands, all the way from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the ocean.

The trail will start at Greymouth, the major commercial centre on the West Coast. You’ll pass through Hokitika which along with Greymouth provides a full range of accommodation, services and adventure tours. The historic villages of Kumara, Milltown, Kaniere, Ruatapu and Ross provide opportunities to meet the locals on a personal level with a good range of existing accommodation at the end of each day.

The main route will be an easy grade one ride, catering for all levels of riding ability including families. It will offer multiple access points for ‘location based” cyclists, with day rides from four urban centres. The trail is initially beside the ocean and a wetland reserve before using a disused railway line complete with several impressive wooden bridges.

Attractions and experiences along the trail will include gold panning, paddle boat cruising, rafting, dolphin watching, jade, gold, wood and bone carving studios, as well as the chance to view unique sculpture, ruby rock, glass blowing and the work of local potters.

Best time to ride

The trail’s easy gradient and great local climate make it a good ride all-year-round.

Getting there

State Highway 6 connects the West Coast from Nelson, through Westport, Greymouth, and Hokitika onto the glaciers and through the Haast Pass to Otago. State Highway 7 through the Lewis Pass and State Highway 73 through the Arthur's Pass provide the east/west routes through the Southern Alps. By road it is just 3 hours to Christchurch Airport. Toll Holdings operate the Midland line with the world famous TranzAlpine Express train to Lyttleton. Air, bus and rental car transport are also widely available.

Click here for more information, photos and maps.