Riding the Wilderness Trail
By Sandra Smith
There’s been a bit of a buzz recently about the West Coast Wilderness Trail. I thought I would check it out for you!
The West Coast of New Zealand is already a favourite destination for travellers. It matters not whether you arrive from the north through the beautiful Buller Gorge, or from the south via the stunning Haast Pass, it will be a memorable expereience.
The West Coast has scenery like no other: bush covered mountains, a stone’s throw it seems from the often wild Tasman Sea, rushing rivers, pancake rocks (Punakaiki) and of course the wonderful hospitality from the laid back ‘Coasters’ who will make your stay one to remember.
Fairly easy and very enjoyable
The West Coast Wilderness Trail is a Grade 2 cycle trail so it’s fairly easy. Most folk make it a 4 day trip from Greymouth to Ross but it could be a 3 day trip if you only went as far as Hokitika.
Overnight stops on the way are at Kumara, Cowboy Paradise (what’s not to like about that name – just makes you want to go there!) and then Hokitika – best fish and chips at Porky’s we are told!
On the last leg to historic Ross there is the opportunity to take a side trip to a Treetop Walkway.
Wonderful scenery and plenty of places to take a break
The track is well formed and travels through forest, alongside rivers, boardwalks over swampland, over a gentle pass (317m) with a great downhill to follow, past a restored water race at Kaniere (hand dug in 1875), across the wide Hokitika River and – if you are lucky – views of Mount Cook on a clear day!
There are cafes, restaurants, flora and fauna, moody lakes, towering trees, rugged shorelines and tumbling rivers all waiting for you.
As with other cycle trails, you can do your own thing or have someone arrange your accommodation, bike hire and/or shuttles.
Useful sites for more information