At the start of 2017, in Auckland, I met a NZ Cycling Trail representative. I was offered to trial a bike track on the west coast of the South Island between Greymouth and Ross.
I had already visited this part of the country and it had never particularly impressed me. I came back from this trip feeling differently.
The pace on a bike gives you real appreciation of the countryside, as well as the pleasant mild weather, which is typical for this area. Departing from Greymouth, the track runs along the sea where the country’s two highest peaks, Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, can be seen.
The track alternates between inland and coastal landscape. We found lush and endemic vegetation and we crossed superb valleys where pure blue rivers flow. One of these played a part during the height of the jade rade in the region. The track is very well maintained, impressive suspension bridges are installed along the track. I quite enjoyed the inland part where there wasn’t a car on the road. Only the song of the many birds and the flowing of the rivers could be heard.
On day two, I tested an electronic bike and what a surprise! I would have never imagined how effective an electric bike would be on this track. This obviously opens up options for couples or friends who have different ability levels. With an electric bike, this track is achievable by all.
I have always had a soft spot for Ross and Kumara. Time seems to send still there. At Kumara we stayed at the Royal Theatre Hotel which was decent. It’s a place with charm, where you can easily mix with locals over a drink or a meal.
The owners had even bought and transformed a local bank into a comfortable accommodation, it’s a real gem!
If you don’t have the full 3 days and 2 nights to do the West Coast Wilderness track, you can easily skip a day between Kumara and Hokitika. It’s just as easy to add the Transalpine train to your trip, which links Christchurch to Greymouth.
It may not be among the country’s most well-known bike tracks, but I'd truly recommend the West Coast Wilderness Trail to nature lovers and those seeking an authentic New Zealand experience
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