The West Coast Wilderness Trail
New Zealand’s South Island is divided by an epic mountain range known as the Southern Alps. These dramatic granite peaks explode from the rugged West Coast shorelines; shores that are lined with New Zealand’s most luscious ancient rainforests. When you're exploring their depths you'll be forgiven for thinking you're somewhere deep in the Amazon – surrounded by electric birdsong, stunning waterfalls and the black waters of tannin-rich rivers.
In the late 1800’s, this rugged coastline was home to a great gold rush that carved tracks, logging tramways, railway lines and water-races through the countryside. The forest reclaimed a lot of these old tracks when the mining days slowed down at the turn of the Century, just a few were kept open to hiking and cycling. That is, until the development of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
The Cycle Trail project reopened 139 kilometres of smooth and safe trail between Greymouth and Ross. This West Coast Wilderness ride winds its way through New Zealand’s rich mining history, lush rainforests and across wetland boardwalks. Make sure you try your hand at gold panning along the way, enjoy a spot of trout fishing, take a walk through the jade, wood and bone carving studios, and it’s well worth checking out the West Coast Treetop Walk.
If you’re doing this trip solo, we recommend starting in Greymouth and working your way south. Take plenty of clothing, the West Coast scenery will knock your socks off on a nice day, but the rainforests really stay true to their name… when it rains, it pours.
If you’re joining us on our ‘Weka’ trip, you’ll be fully vehicle assisted along the way and we’ll ride a stunning section between Kumara and Kaniere. From here, we’ll take a short drive to Franz Joseph where we’ll enjoy a cosy evening sharing stories and photos in the tranquil Rainforest Retreat.