West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

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

Trip Summary

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 Cycle Trails. 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 to start cycling the trail at Ross. We experience a treetop canopy walk before continuing along the coast to Hokitika and then inland to the serene setting of Lake Kaniere and the spectacular Hokitika Gorge nestled in 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 enjoy a final night at Punakaiki known for its interesting Pancake Rocks before returning to Christchurch, 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.


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. Cycle Distance: Ross to Hokitika - 33km / 22miles

Meals:  L,D

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. Cycle Distance: Hokitika -Lake Kaniere- Kokatahi - 40km / 24miles

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 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

Meals:  B,L,D

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. Cycle Distance: Kumara to Greymouth - 30km / 19miles

Meals:  B,L,D

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. Cycle Distance: Nelson Creek to Moana - 25km / 15miles

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)
  • 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)
  • $50 donation to The South Westland Wilderness Trail Trust to support the proposed 150km extension of the trail to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Fore more information http://www.southwestlandwildernesstrail.co.nz/

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)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. Monteath's Brewery tour in Greymouth)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)

Bikes used for Adventure South Cycleways tours, Avanti Discovery MTB (top), low step version (middle) and 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 suspension seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive braking.

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 or Merida e-Bikes are 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 MTB SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.


Our West Coast Wilderness ride was an incredible ride. The trails through native beech, ferns and podocarps were beautiful. The bike-specific trails are in fantastic condition. Loved the back-country roads through rural farm country and majestic river valley to Hokitika Gorge. Adventure South has created a great 5-day ride to see this part of New Zealand, including additional trails with beautiful lakes & a fun water course ride. Lovely hotels, excellent meals at guide-catered lunches & dinners at resturants. Chris is an excellent guide who kept us in high energy mode and rolling right along. Thanks for a memorable time along the WC trail!

Jill T., Colorado, 11 Mar 2019

Great variety on beautiful back-country trails.

Ian W, Napier, New Zealand, 12 Jan 2019

We had a great time, great ride with each day's riding a good proportion of the whole. The side trips were well worth while. The group, most of whom we'd never met before hand were great fun too.

Greg B, New Zealand, 04 Dec 2018

Exceptionally well run tour epitomised by the meticulous pre tour information provided to participants.

Dennis M, Australia, 04 Dec 2018

Enjoyed everything about the trip. Adventure South staff did a great job of adapting the trip to the ever changing weather conditions. The only issue was difficulty finding the brewery in Greymouth.

Barry R, Australia, 13 Apr 2018

Achievable day mileage. Fantastic bikes - well maintained. Great tour guides. Awesome scenery. Our two tour guides - Sandra & Baz were amazing. Snow on the mountains, beautiful scenery and fantastic trails. Don't be intimidated by the trails/roads. They are all in fantastic condition - the scenery is well worth the trip. Beautiful locations.

Barb & Murray J, Auckland, New Zealand, 13 Apr 2018

It was a fabulous trip with great guides who provided great info and advice as required. Bas was fantastic at checking the conditions and adapting the day/activities.

, Auckland, 13 Apr 2018

Even better than the Otago Rail Trail and Alps to Ocean! Beautiful scenery forest trails. Excellent tour guides. Easy paced riding and walks in Punakaiki was fabulous. Food and accommodation excellent. Loved the train ride!

David T, Adelaide, Australia, 13 Apr 2018

The bike trail was much more challenging than imagined, but I did it! It tested my stamina. If I come on another NZ bike adventure, I now know I need to be better prepared with my fitness. It was the most beautiful environment to pass through. Great guides in Baz and Sandra. Fabulous support along the way. Great work Baz working the itinerary around the weather!

Jennifer S, Melbourne, Australia, 13 Apr 2018

Excellent trip in content and organisation made enjoyable by guides Sandra and Baz.

, New Zealand, 13 Apr 2018

Tour guides fantastic! Bas had some great stories. Food and accommodation really good. Guides made itinerary flexible so we could ride with the wind and in the best weather.

Lyn H, Adelaide, Australia, 13 Apr 2018

The tour much exceeded my expectations. Tour guides delivered much knowledge of the ride, tourist stops at general interesting information of areas we travelled through. The last section Stillwater to Moana could be changed possibly substituting an earlier ride elsewhere and then traveled to directly to Moana and then board the train. The two guides Chris and Rob were outstanding. It was much more than a cycle tour.

Brent P, Auckland, NZ, 23 Mar 2018

Great variety of landscapes and scenery and good opportunity to see the countryside and landscape up close. Really enjoyed the off road cycling through the bush around the lakes etc.

Chris J, Auckland, NZ, 23 Mar 2018

The overall cycling experience was good with varied cycling paths and terrain, scenery and other places of interest. The accommodation provided was also very well appointed. Food and beverage provided also good.

Sharyn J, Auckland, NZ, 23 Mar 2018

Overall a great trip. Accommodations were adequate and tour leaders friendly, engaging and very helpful.

Alastair M, Auckland, 23 Mar 2018

Great trip, good guides and beautiful scenery. Suitable for all fitness levels. Very stress-free. Everything was organised for us.

Susan P, Auckland, NZ, 23 Mar 2018

The guides were great. The bikes worked well. All accommodation was excellent and most meals really good. Didn't enjoy the last days ride into Moana, the road was too busy. Remember to bring rain gear and sandfly repellent. Be prepared for everything.

Jill, Auckland, NZ, 23 Mar 2018

Loved the bike-able gradients! Great signage, regular stops. Walking side trips all worthwhile.

Sandra K, Kaitaia, New Zealand, 09 Mar 2018

Very well worth the money. Accommodation & meals were awesome. The ride was very challenging in some parts but the scenery made up for it.

John B, Australia, 09 Mar 2018

Good experience, great delivery and company. Good level of activity.

Breno C, Australia, 09 Mar 2018

Enjoyed the trip with great guides. Great views on the trail.

Erin M, 09 Mar 2018

Well the brilliant west coast weather was a bonus and made this trip extra enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the water race ride at Lake Kaniere and day 3 to Kumara. The support and encouragement from Sue and Richard was great and their knowledge on what to expect spot on. Road cycling not so enjoyable. Maybe there is another way to fill in the last morning. Accommodation and meals were varied - all comfortable and plentiful. Nice to have short walks to add to experience.

Karen I, Napier, New Zealand, 09 Mar 2018

Beautiful scenery and great off road cycling. I like the diversity of the environment. The accommodation was great and I appreciated the variety. The guides were able to think quickly on their feet and adapt to the ever changing conditions.

Stella C, USA, 23 Feb 2018

Great trip! A lot of great trail time and flexibility from the guides despite variable weather conditions. Accommodations were nice as well.

Alex M, USA, 23 Feb 2018

Guides were always helpful, accommodating, funny and mind. Loved all the accommodation. Fantastic Fern and Moss Forests, waterways, trails with great ability to be athletic or relaxed. Even with the rain and change of schedule, it all was awesome. Communication was excellent prior to the trip. Wonderful to be able to call and talk to a real person.

Heidi M, USA, 23 Feb 2018

Great guides! We had a cyclone and they were very good at changing and evolving. Enjoyed the humour!

Mitch C, USA, 23 Feb 2018

Great trip. Food great, scenery great. Our guides took great care of us. I was a little worried about the riding but we had options and could ride as little or as much as we wanted.

Yvonne G, Canberra, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

Great mix of trails, terrain, inclines and declines. Fantastic scenery. Knowledgeable and helpful guides who always went the extra mile to snsure our comfort and enjoyment.

, Canberrra, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

Overall trip was excellent. All went well despite my not calling out about stopping on a steep bit. The trails were gorgeous with wonderful variation of ferns, palms and orchids.

John and Sally K, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

A personal challenge, a visual delight, an amazing guide, a great experience. Make sure you are fit and practice on Mountain Bikes.

Geoff G, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

Great itinerary. However bike was not very good - clunky gear change despite lubrication so had to take guides bike - average. Otherwise no issues. Enjoyed all the walking. Guides excellent.

Sue Williams, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

Bikes adequate, trip route very good, guides excellent, food very good, accommodation good to excellent.

Sydney R, Australia, 09 Feb 2018

Bloody excellent! Both Louise and Jo were so fabulous - full of enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and patience. Bikes were great, accommodation fine. River swim on day 4 was great. Allow yourself sufficient time to get over jetlag - at least one day.

Claire N, Newcastle, Australia, 31 Dec 2017

Really enjoyed the trails through the forests. Magical greenery everywhere. The accommodations were just fine with lots of space. I thought the drive down from Arthur's Pass could have been slower or at least reassure people that its a safe and normal pass - my only complaint the whole trip. The guides were wonderful and helped make the tour thoroughly enjoyable. This trip seemed easy enough for both the children to do and it was in NZ, and i'd been trying to get the whole family there for a long time.

Boris N, Newscastle, Australia, 31 Dec 2017

Overall it was definitely one of the best holidays I've ever been on. I enjoyed the length and variety of scenery that came with the cycling and the bikes themselves were comfortable and steady. Overall very good. Cycling up to Cowboy's Paradise was definitely a highlight. I enjoyed the constant switching directions and being rewarded with an increasingly better view of the landscapes below us.

Jack M, Newcastle, Australia, 31 Dec 2017

Stunning West Coast scenery and excellent input and local knowledge from the guides. First day was a little rushed with a long bus ride and a lates lunch. Final motel at Punakaiki wasn't quite up to the standard of the other accommodation. It was a great opportunity to visit a long wished for destination with a well reputed company - you did not disappoint.

Tim R, Australia, 01 Dec 2017

Loved the trip and couldn't have got better guides! Fantastic picnics, thank you Rodger and Sue.

Jennifer I, Rotorua, NZ, 01 Dec 2017

From start to finish our group had the most fantastic time. We were fortunate enough to have 5 days of clear blue skies and temperature in the mid-high 20's. Sublime riding. Great bikes provided, everyone was fitted and kitted before we departed Christchurch. We had walkers (due to recent illness), we had an e-biker and an eclectic mix of others. Our guides Rodger and Fiona were accommodating (it is like herding cats with our lot), they were extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to share time with. Our accommodation was very clean, our meals were tasty, especially the breakfasts and Stella's in Hokitika. Picnic time lunches on the road were welcome and fulfilling - just what you need while biking. The days were challenging but in a very good way, and if you got tired then the coach was there to retire to. Would highly recommend any age group to get on yer bike and explore the West Coast.

Denise R - Via Trip Advisor

A great way of experiencing New Zealand! Cycling, meeting people, food and exercising. I did not want to finish, only my legs did.

Orsetta, Italy

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:5 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:WTC
Prices From:NZD$1895
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$170 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$400 
Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departure:NZD$495