New Zealand Cycling and Hiking Adventures

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

Trip Highlights

  • Bike the wild West Coast on a dedicated cycle trail
  • Experience the Treetop walkway
  • Travel on the TranzAlpine Express, one of the top 10 train journeys in the world
  • Soak in the sublime beauty of the Southern Alps from Hokitika
  • This trip is listed in Lonely Planets Top 10 rides!
  • Retrace the paths left by pioneering packhorses, trams and trains

Trip Summary

Cycling along the West Coast Wilderness Trail&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Stephen Roberts</i>

Wedged between the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea is one of the South Island's most diverse, rugged and beautiful landscapes. Snaking through the dense rainforests, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands is the West Coast Wilderness Trail - a graded cycle trail formed from a series of tracks originally carved by pioneering gold miners. The track also follows extensive water races, logging tramways and historic railway lines. This 140km trail opens up some of the West Coast’s wildest and most spectacular natural settings, and our supported trip will find the highlights as well as visit some nearby must-see attractions. From Christchurch we cross the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass and begin our ride along quiet back country trails around Lake Brunner. We leave the bikes for a treetop canopy walk before continuing along the coast to Hokitika and then inland to the serene setting of Lake Kaniere nestled against the Southern Alps. After negotiating some swing bridges and switchback climbs it's all downhill to our accommodation at the beautifully restored historical Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara. We return to Christchurch, where the trip concludes, aboard the TranzAlpine Express, one of New Zealand's great train rides.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The West Coast Cycle Trail is graded introductory-moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. The main factor for this is that the cycling is on hard packed gravel - if you can get in some cycling on gravel before your tour it will make the experience a lot more fun.


From your central Christchurch accommodation we collect you for a bike fitting and briefing at our depot. Then we drive (approx 3hrs) across the spectacular Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass, dropping down to the beautiful bush-covered coastal region on the other side. Our first ride comes on a quiet backcountry road around Lake Brunner as we start to discover our cycle mojo. We slowly crest a low saddle and then descend into Kumara before we drive onto the historic township of Ross and our accommodation for the night. Cycle distance - Jacksons to Lake Brunner -25 kms/15.5 miles

Meals:  L,D

The cycleway follows the coast north to Hokitika with side trips to Lake Mahinapua and the new tree top walkway. The Southern Alps provide an awesome backdrop to our approach to Hokitika where we can take time out. There is much crafting of Pounamu (greenstone) from the West Coast as he explains traditional and modern designs. We over night here for the next two nights. Cycle distance Ross to Hokitika - 36km / 22 miles

Meals:  B,L,D

Nestled against the alps lies the beautiful Lake Kaniere and today we explore the rural roads and cycleway sections that circumnavigate it. The rural countryside is flat and our rides take us through small townships and farms. The bush around Lake Kaniere is lush and we stop for great photos at Dorothy Falls. The cycleway then follows an old water race used in gold mining times before a last ride back to town (optional). Cycle distance - Hokitika Lake Kaniere loop - 34 kms / 21 miles

Meals:  B,L

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 gradually descending to our overnight at Kumara and the beautiful historic hotel that is our accommodation. We enjoy a celebratory dinner this evening while reflecting on our west coast adventure. Cycle distance - Hokitika to Kumara - 50 kms / 30 miles

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we get back on the bikes for a final ride into Greymouth before we return to Christchurch. 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 there are many cafes and restaurants from which to choose for lunch. A visit to the local Monteaths Brewery for a tour and tasting is optional and at own expense. After lunch we board the Tranzalpine Express - rated as one of the top 10 train rides in the world - that takes us back to Christchurch. On arrival we will drop you off at your central Christchurch accommodation, where trip arrangements conclude. Cycle distance - Kumara to Greymouth - 30kms / 19 miles

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 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)
  • TranzAlpine train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Entry to Treetops Walkway
  • Water bottle, water and snacks while cycling
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Optional activities (eg. Monteath's Brewery tour in Greymouth)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Avanti Bikes available for hire for Cycleways, Avanti Discovery (top), Avanti Discovery Low Step (middle), Avanti Discovery Low e-Bike (bottom)

MOUNTAIN BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our new fleet of Avanti Discovery hybrid mountain bikes combines the best characteristics of a hybrid bike and a mountain bike to give you a great ride and comfort on gravel cycle trails. This bike has a more upright riding style meaning you can still take in the amazing scenery you'll encounter along the way.

These bikes have 29" wheels, suspension forks and seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive breaking.

They are also available in a low rise, also known as a step though bike frame, please specify on your booking form.


ELECTRIC BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our Avanti Discovery low step e-Bike is perfect for cyclists that may require a little assistance on their travels. Pedalling our e-Bikes is easier on knees and joints than riding a traditional bike. They provide up to 80kms of pedal assistance before requiring recharging. Very simple to operate and they provide people with varying levels of cycling experience, health and fitness levels the opportunity to enjoy our cycling holidays.

For bicycle specifications please contact us for more details.



Bikes can be fitted with flat pedals, toes clips or SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet and drink bottle will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:5 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:WTC
Prices From:NZD$1695
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$170 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$400 
Single Supplement 2016/17:NZD$400 
Single Supplement 2017/18:NZD$400 

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About us

Since 1992, Adventure South NZ has operated an exciting range of guided cycling, hiking and multi-activity holidays right across New Zealand – and the world - to suit all levels of fitness. We are part of the World Expeditions Travel Group.

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