The West Coast Wilderness Trail is a series of tracks that runs down the coast from Greymouth in the north to Kamura and then inland to Cowboy Paradise and the back to the coast at Hokitika and then onward to Ross.
Some folks take multiple days to ride the entire trail but we had one day so we decided to tackle about 100k (60 miles). We rolled from our AirBnb in Greymouth and ended in Hokitika. There’s not a lot of climbing so you can make pretty good time; we took a little over 6 hours.
Unless you want to ride back on the road, you need to arrange a shuttle to meet you at the end of your planned ride and take you back to where you started. A quick internet search will turn up a couple of companies that can help.
The section from Greymouth to Kumara is nice enough, but unremarkable. If you wanted to shorten the ride, I’d cut this section. Have a car drop you in Kumara and pick you up in Hokitika.
The section from Kumara to Cowboy Paradise had the most variety. There were lake views, open pastures, mountains, and jungle.
It’s a bit of a climb to get to Cowboy Paradise. Beginners will find this part of the ride the most challenging.
Cowboy Paradise itself is a hole in the wall. There’s one cafe where you can get something to eat. It seems like a work-in-progress, but you won’t go hungry.
The descent from Cowboy Paradise was some of our favorite trails. When the trail leaves the jungle and opens up to pasture and meadow, you feel like you are in Hobbiton.
There’s a lot of road in the last part of the ride into Hokitika. It’s not bad, but the last few kilometers are somewhat boring. But you’ll be tired by that point so it won’t matter much.
The entire trail is very well marked so you shouldn’t have any trouble. There are markers showing distance every kilometer and signs showing all the turns. My guess is that it was 80% dirt and gravel trails and 20% road. According to our shuttle driver, they are adding new trails so some of the sections currently served by roads will be trails in the future.
This was a great way to cover a lot of distance and see a wide variety of what the west coast has to offer. I’d recommend it for both experienced and newer riders. Just plan your pace and the distances according to your ability.
You can see our ride below in the video below and find out more about the route from the relive video or look through the Strava data here . If you want more information about the trail, you’ll find it here.