4-5 Days 133 km


  • Rainforest, lakes and coast
  • Rustic railways, bridges and byways
  • Interesting small towns


Grade 2 - 3

Easy - Intermediate

Take a Great Ride on the wild side amidst rainforest, tumbling rivers, unspoiled lakes and beaches backdropped by the mighty Southern Alps.

Dramatic natural and human history is revealed around every bend on this Ngā Haerenga Great Ride of New Zealand retracing old packhorse tracks, tramlines, railways and goldmining water races – now connected with new, flowing singletrack. Taking in the historic towns of Greymouth, Kumara, Hokitika and Ross, it offers deep immersion in the Coast’s world-famous scenery as well as a journey stretching back in time to the Māori pounamu (greenstone) and the gold rush eras.

West Coast
West Coast Wilderness Trail, West Coast

Ride experience

The West Coast Wilderness Trail is divided up into four sections that make captivating day rides or can be completed in full over several days. 

The coast’s largest town, Greymouth, is an atmospheric starting point for the journey along the wild Tasman Sea Coast, past tranquil, bird-filled wetlands and onward to the picturesque town of Kumara

Nature-lovers are in for a treat as this Great Ride ventures deeper into the wilderness and over a low pass to meet the Arahura River and peaceful Lake Kaniere, encircled by lush native forest. 

At the Cool Little Town of Hokitika, riders can admire lovingly restored old buildings, local craft galleries, and spectacular sunsets from the driftwood-strewn beach. The cycle trail continues through to the old gold town of Ross taking in an intriguing tramline and various waterways crossed by significant historic bridges. 

The Southern Alps are a constant companion along this immersive and relatively easy ride. E-bike-friendly and well supported with shuttles and tours, it’s arguably the best way to explore this fascinating part of the West Coast. 

New Zealand Cycle Trail Official Website

A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.

West Coast Wilderness Trail(opens in new window)

West Coast
West Coast Wilderness Trail, Hokitika , West Coast

Need to know

  • This Great Ride is around 70% grade 2 (easy) with 30% grade 3 (intermediate), and mostly suitable for riders from beginners upwards. It’s generally flat, wide and smooth, although the Kawhaka Pass section involves a reasonably challenging climb but dismounting and walking makes the most of the views.
  • The West Coast Wilderness Trail can be ridden on a hybrid bike or e-bike.
  • Most sections of the trail can be ridden by riders on adaptive bikes and by people with other accessible challenges.
  • The trail can be started at either end – Greymouth in the north, and Ross in the south. Each of the four sections takes around 3–5 hours.
  • The trail is well signposted and meets many roads and settlements, and there are toilets dotted at convenient points. Cellphone coverage is patchy in places.
  • The West Coast enjoys a mild climate with plenty of sunshine, even in Autumn and winter which are lovely times to ride. The potential for heavy rain means it’s important to check the forecast and track conditions before you ride, and bring appropriate clothing.
  • The West Coast is also home to The Old Ghost Road and Paparoa Track, two of New Zealand’s best backcountry mountain bike trips for fit, adventurous riders. Further south, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier townships provide access to Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
West Coast
West Coast Wilderness Trail, West Coast

Transport & tours

The trail is well serviced by local companies offering bike hire, tours, luggage transfers and shuttles to and from this Great Ride. Official partners are listed on the official West Coast Wilderness Trail(opens in new window) and Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) websites, and include Kiwi Journeys(opens in new window), West Coast Cycle and Tours(opens in new window), Adventure South NZ(opens in new window), Escape By Cycle(opens in new window), Tuatara Tours and Cycle Journeys.  


There is plenty of accommodation close to the trail in Greymouth, Kumara, Hokitika and Ross, and smaller settlements along the trail. These range from hotels, motels, restored historic places, holiday parks and campsites. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the official West Coast Wilderness Trail(opens in new window) and Great Rides of New Zealand websites.  

Useful links

West Coast Wilderness Trail(opens in new window)

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)

West Coast NZ(opens in new window) 

Great Rides app - West Coast Wilderness Trail(opens in new window)

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