Hokitika Gorge West Coast Wilderness Trail

west coast wilderness

The West Coast is New Zealand’s equivalent to the Wild West – a remote strip of spectacular coastline between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. Famous for its rugged natural beauty, snow-capped mountains and wild black sand beaches.  It feels like you’ve slipped back in time to an era of pioneers and gold miners. Biking the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail is one of the best ways to experience this magical place. Escape by Cycle’s West Coast Wilderness is a 6 day bike tour starting in Christchurch and finishing in Queenstown travelling the length of this spectacular part of New Zealand. 

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west coast wilderness cycle tours
West Coast Wilderness Cycle Tours / Haast River Jet Boat Safari – West Coast Wilderness / Great Southern Circuit

West Coast Wilderness Cycle Tour

Tour Highlights:
  • An epic 6 day journey across the Southern Alps, exploring the length of the West Coast, past glaciers, rivers and snow-capped mountains.
  • Ride the TranzAlpine through the Southern Alps – one of the greatest train rides in the world!
  • Experience Te Wahipounamu – UNESCO World Heritage Area with a jet boat safari on the remote Haast river.
  • Visit the spectacular Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – one of New Zealand’s most stunning stretches of coastline. 
  • Includes a visit to the Hokitika Gorge, Shantytown, West Coast Treetops Walkway, and meet New Zealand’s rarest kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre 

Cycle Trails

West Coast Wilderness Trail, Franz Josef, Wanaka Trail


6 Days / 5 Nights





West Coast Wilderness Cycle Tours blog post vol 3 thunderbirds we are go


  • 6 day tour with 4 days of cycling on the West Coast Wilderness, Franz Josef and Wanaka cycle trails
  • 5 nights accommodation on the West Coast, at a selection of charming boutique hotels, B&B and unique beachfront accommodation
  • Start your trip with a journey on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Take a guided tour of the world famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
  • Visit the aqua blue waters of the stunning Hokitika Gorge
  • Enjoy a stroll through the forest canopy at the West Coast Treetop Walkway.
  • The Franz Josef glacier and meet New Zealand’s rarest kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre
  • Take a Jet Boat Safari deep into the mountains of South Westland on the Haast River.
  • All transport on tour and drop-off to your hotel in Wanaka or Queenstown.
  • Your choice of a latest technology e-bike or mountain bike. E-bikes make your journey easier and more comfortable.
  • Meals included:
    – Day 1: lunch, dinner
    – Days 2-5: breakfast, lunch and dinner
    – Day 6: breakfast and lunch
    All meals are high quality, catering to all dietary requirements, made with fresh local produce. Lunches may include either a visit to top local cafés or our famous make-your-own picnics.
  • Our expert local tour leaders provide insight and background to the areas you visit and show you how to use your bike and equipment.
  • Full vehicle support – in case you ever want to take a break from riding or skip a section.
  • Unlimited snacks – fresh fruit, mixed nuts, bars, and a selection of classic New Zealand lollies!
  • Drinks breaks provided along the trail – a selection of teas, plunger coffee, juice, soft drinks and water.


  • Alcohol, hot drinks, cold drinks, teas or coffees purchased at pubs, restaurants or cafés.

West Coast Wilderness Tour Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Make your way to the Christchurch Railway Station and board the TranzAlpine train bound for the West Coast – one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world! Enjoy lunch on board as you make your way through the Southern Alps. Pick-up from Greymouth for a tour of the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. Dinner at a fantastic restaurant and spend the night at a lovely boutique motel in Greymouth. 
  • Day 2 – after a fabulous cooked breakfast we give you a thorough introduction to our bikes and how to use them before you start your journey on the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail. The trail follows the coast then stop for lunch and a visit at Shantytown to experience life for the early gold miners and pioneers living on the coast. Ride the first 30km of the West Coast Wilderness trail to stay at a beautiful restored hotel in Kumara. 
  • Day 3 – After breakfast, you continue your ride past the beautiful Kapitea Reservoir up into the foothills of the Southern Alps. The trails follows a water race from the gold mining era past a series of small hydro dams then enjoy some fun flowing downhill sections into the Arahura valley where we meet you for a fabulous picnic lunch. Stop for afternoon tea at the stunning Lake Kaniere where if it’s hot you may like to jump in for a swim, then continue on a fun section beside an old water race. Enjoy a fabulous meal and spend the night at stunning accommodation near Hokitika.
  • Day 4 – We start the day with a short walk at the magnificent Hokitika Gorge, then get back on your bike to follow the trail into Hokitika for lunch at a wonderful cafe. The trail heads south through wetlands on boardwalks around Lake Mahinapua then take a stroll through the forest canopy at the West Coast Treetops Walk. The trail ends in Ross where we stay at unique beach front accommodation where you can enjoy a BBQ, watching the sun set into the Tasman Sea.
  • Day 5 – We take a break from the cycling today and drive down the coast to visit the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. After a short walk to see the glacier, you can take a short but stunning ride through native beech forest following the river. After lunch at a fabulous cafe, meet New Zealand’s rarest breed of kiwi with a backstage guided tour of the West Coast Wildlife Centre. Then we continue the drive down the coast to stay in the remote outpost of Haast.
  • Day 6 – After a cooked breakfast, take a jet boat safari up the stunning Haast River deep into the mountains of this UNESCO World Heritage Area. Then we drive back up and over the Southern Alps to get back on your bike for a final stunning ride the between the 2 huge glacial lakes of Hawea and Wanaka. After a final lunch together on the edge of Lake Wanaka, we drop you off at your accommodation in Queenstown in the late afternoon.

* Please note we continually strive to improve our tours to give you the best experience and to adapt to changing situation. Covid has had a significant impact on South Island tourist businesses. This has created a huge amount of uncertainty. As a result this itinerary is indicative only and subject to change.  

  • Choose between a new high tech e-bike or mountain bike – at no extra cost.
  • You can finish the tour in Wanaka or Queenstown. Drop-offs to nearby locations can be arranged.
  • It’s possible to book a scenic helicopter flight of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers instead of visiting the Wildlife Centre (this not included). 

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