Wilderness Trail

The West Coast Wilderness Trail provides a unique immersion into the nature and the people of the West Coast. This fabulous cycling adventure guarantees an outstanding landscape ride through dense rainforest, past glacial rivers and lakes and through wetlands, all the way from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the ocean. And it is all accessed on one of the best cycle trail surfaces in the country.

The Trail is the latest addition to Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail and will be officially opened on November 23, 2013 at Kumara, on the West Coast.

About the West Coast Wilderness Trail

Arrive as a visitor and leave as a local when you spend the best days of your life on two wheels. In the midst of the West Coast of the Southern Alps, lie a series of tracks carved by pioneering gold rush miners. Today these old tracks, together with extensive water races, logging tramways and later short length railway lines, form the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

The cycle trail can be ridden either in part as a day rides or in its entirety over four days.

It is graded 'Easy'. The first three days of riding open in Saturday 23rd November and the leg from Hokitika to Ross will be completed and opened in early 2014.

Over 117.3km of the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail is off-road on an excellent gravel trail, with an ambient gradient and only a couple of short sections where you may prefer to walk. When the Wilderness Trail is complete, the total distance from Greymouth to Ross wil be 135.5km.

Plan Your West Coast Wilderness Trail Journey

Making the most of the amazing West Coast Wilderness Trail does require a bit of planning and preparation. You will want to know about the towns that service the Trail and what they can offer your overall experience. The weather can be an important part of any outdoor experience in New Zealand and we've also provided some "useful tips" to make your planning easier and a copy of the Mountain Bikers Code. Read the side boxes to the right - now enjoy!

NZ Cycle Trail Grading Guide

The New Zealand Cycle Trail grading system aligns with the approach taken by both the Department of Conservation and Mountain Biking New Zealand.

Trails are all graded on a scale of 1-5, with Grade 1 being the easiest and Grade 5 being for expert cyclists. The West Coast Wilderness Trail is graded 2 (Easy).

Easy Trails are described as being “predictable”. They deliver no surprises and are mostly flat with some gentle climbs. The surface is firm gravel and the trail is wider enough for two people to cycle side-by-side at times. Grade 2 trails that utilise existing roads generally follow quiet roads with little traffic. Easy Trails are suitable for beginners, occasional cyclists and families with limited cycling experience. A multi-geared bike with medium to wide tyres is recommended, such as a comfort bike, touring bike or mountain bike.

Intermediate trails can be more narrow and may include hills climbs and small river crossings. The trail surface is mostly firm, but may include muddy or loose sections. On–road trails have moderate traffic levels of up to 1,000 vehicles per day. Grade 3 trails are most suitable for regular cyclists with a good level of fitness and for children over the age of 12. Younger children should be accompanied by an adult. A mountain bike is recommended.

Day Two of the West Coast Wilderness Trail is more challenging than the rest of the ride because of the incline from Kumara to Milltown. The climb is easily managed by people with a reasonable level of fitness. Don’t forget that a short walk is an alternative to the riding and also offers a great chance to enjoy the views!

Useful Planning Tips

The West Coast Wilderness Trail is a cycling adventure that will take you through dense rainforest, past glacial rivers and lakes and through wetlands. You will traverse the West Coast from the ocean to the Alps. These Trail Tips are all the practical help you need to consider to help you make the most of this outstanding landscape ride.

Towns on the Trail

The towns and tracks of the West Coast were carved by pioneering gold rush miners. Today Greymouth, Kumara, Hokitika and Ross form part of the economic and social backbone of the West Coast. They are also the towns that will host you on your ride through the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

Trail Code

The West Coast Wilderness Trail forms part of the national network of trails: Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail. All of the Trails in this network will be used by a combination of locals, visitors from other parts of New Zealand and international visitors. It is important that we all use the Trail and use it wisely. Enjoy the Trail. Share the Trail. Leave it as you found it. Read about the New Zealand Cycle Trail Code.


The West Coast of New Zealand often gets more sunshine hours per annum than the country's major city, Auckland. It can also rain! Check out the average temperatures for the different times of the year below and be prepared.

More information on West Coast Wilderness Trail

For more information on the West Coast Wilderness Trail please visit: