Cycle New Zealand: Wilderness Trail
From 04/03/2022 to 12/12/2023
Set out on one of New Zealand’s great rides as you cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail through the South Island’s untamed natural wilderness.
The scenery is wild, but the ride is smooth as you follow mostly traffic-free cycle paths and trails with amazing West Coast scenery at every turn.
When you’re not on two wheels, explore on two feet during hikes at Lake Kaniere at the spectacular Point Elizabeth Lookout, where you can see the ocean stretch to the mountains.
Experience the famous hospitality of New Zealander’s firsthand on a trail built specifically to cater to cyclists.
Breakfasts Included: 3.
Hotel (3 nights).
Bicycle (e-bike available,subject to availability).
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 1 - 12.
Hokitika Glowworm Dell.
Lake Kaniere hiking.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Hokitika & Ross Kia Ora! Welcome to Hokitika, New Zealand. Your West Coast cycling adventure kicks off with a meeting at 11am where you’ll meet your leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting you’ll be fitted with your bike, then hop aboard your vehicle and follow the shores of the Tasman Sea to the nearby town of Ross. Here you’ll set your wheels in motion and begin your cycling journey along the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Today will be a chance to find your feet as you cycle the mostly flat road north through gently rolling farmland and tracts of green forest, crossing the Totara River before arriving at the tiny town of Ruatapu. If time permits, you may like to take an optional visit the West Coast Treetop Walk to see a forest of ancient Rimu trees from a different perspective. From here, cycle along peaceful tree-lined roads, past the calm emerald waters of Lake Mahinapua, through wooded areas, and cruise all the way back into Hokitika. This evening you may like to get to know your travel companions over dinner in town, or perhaps head to the nearby Glowworm Dell where magical creatures light up a cave above you.
Day 2 - Lake Kaniere & Hokitika Tuck into an early breakfast then jump in the vehicle for a short drive up the hill to the stunning Lake Kaniere. Fringed by mountains and ancient Rimu forests, this glacial lake is just as beautiful as it is culturally significant, once serving as a mahinga kai (food gathering place) for the Maori people. It’s also a perfect spot for a short hike, and if weather permits, you’ll enjoy a scenic stroll along the Lake Kaniere Walkway (approximately 2 hours). Stop of at the secluded Dorothy Falls, then hop back on two wheels and cycle 10km along undulating gravel road hugging the east shore of Lake Kaniere. From here, enjoy a mostly downhill ride, following the fast-flowing Hokitika River back into Hokitika town. The rest of the afternoon is free for your own explorations. You may like to learn about the significance of carving in Maori culture at a local carving studio, where you can carve a piece from pounamu (greenstone), bone, or shell. For a glimpse into Hokitika’s past, head to the local museum, or you may like to end the day at Hokitika beach, watching an amazing West Coast sunset.
Day 3 - Lake Kaniere to Kumara To avoid a long uphill stretch this morning, you and your bike will be driven back up to Lake Kaniere to start today’s ride. Leaving the lake, you’ll start climbing almost immediately, skirting Mt Tuhua, cycling through valley farmland and crossing the braided Arahura River. Continue up to the high point of the trip under the craggy peaks of the towering Mt Turiwhate. The next 20kms are almost all downhill, as you drop down past Trappers Rest then continue to the twin lakes of the Kumara Reservoir, cycling across the narrow spit of land that separates the wooded shores of the still green waters. Pause to take in the view, then follow the water north before dropping down into Kumara itself. If the weather’s warm, why not relax by the sandy banks of the Taramakau River, or if you’re feeling more active, enjoy a short and easy stroll through tailings and old gold workings to view Londonderry Rock – a huge boulder too large for the miners to move or break. Once a thriving gold town with over 50 pubs, sleepy Kumara is now a wonderful place to simply put your feet up and enjoy the tranquillity of rural life in New Zealand.
Day 4 - Kumara to Greymouth Rise bright and early to saddle up for your final day on the Wilderness Trail. You’ll cover a lot of ground today (47km) but it’s pretty easy going, with the first 12km at a good speed downhill from Kumara, all the way to the point where the Taramakau River meets the Tasman Sea. Follow the path through ever-changing scenery, covering flat coastal roads past the West Coast’s rugged beaches and small settlements. Ride through the busy town of Greymouth, then continue across the Grey River out to the pounding surf of Shipwreck Point, then follow the ocean north to the Point Elizabeth Walkway. Park your bike and take a well surfaced hike (approximately 5km return) through mixed coastal forest out to the Point Elizabeth Lookout. Take a moment to soak in some truly unforgettable views stretching from the ocean to the Paparoa Mountain Range. Then it’s a short and flat ride back to Greymouth, where on arrival your West Coast Wilderness Trail cycling trip comes to an end.
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