Enjoy our story of the John whanau (Mum, Dad, 10 year old boy and a 8 year old girl) riding the West Coast Wilderness Trail over 5 dayson the Westcoast of the South Island New Zealand

 

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

When we make the effort and take the time to go on a biking adventure with the family we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To help plan your adventure read about the John whanau experience riding the 139km West Coast Wilderness Trail in April 2016, riding from Greymouth to Ross.

Where is it?

The West Coast Wilderness Trail starts across the road from the i site at Greymouth on the West Coast of the south Island New Zealand

The ride and is it doable for you?

The West Coast Wilderness Trail is 139km in length. Greymouth to Ross. At the time of riding, the section from Hokitika to Ross was less developed and if this would suit your family better you could consider the 103km from Greymouth to Hokitika.  A good website to help with the planning of your trip is the westcoastwildernesstrail.

We have chosen to do it over a 5 day journey to make it achievable for our young family. Because of where there is availability of accommodation  your child will need to be capable of riding around 30-40km in a day.

DAY ONE – Greymounth i -Site to Top 10 Holiday Park Greymouth  = 7km – is it doable?

This was a travel day for us driving from Nelson to Greymouth. We stopped at the Greymouth i site (which is opposite the start of the trail). They chose to bike the first 7km of the trail as their accommodation was located 7km along the trail. Ticking off the first 7km on their traveling day allowed the following day to be a little shorter to attempt to save the legs and motivation for the gentle uphill ride of Day Three.

Biking – The start of the Westcoast Wilderness Trail outside the i site to their accommodation the Greymouth Seaside Top 10 holiday Park, 7km.

Car Shuttle – An adult rode back along the 7km seaside trail to collect the car (while the kids enjoyed the playground and exploring the holiday park) and drove it to the Holiday Park. The car was left in the complementary storage area while they cycled the trail.

Accommodation – stayed overnight at the Greymouth Seaside Top 10 Holiday Park.  With the trail on their doorstep it allows you to set off in good time for biking.

Highlights – It was great to get the perspective of Greymouth from the top of the stop bank, see the Greymouth bar, and the activity of the river.

The Greymouth Holiday Park offers storage for your car and transport/shuttle options for the trail.

DAY TWO – Greymounth i -Site to Kumara 29km – is it doable?

Biking – Greymouth to Kumara 29km. The trail is signposted every 1 km

Accommodation – They stayed in a cottage at Kumara.  Check out www.kumarawestcoast.org.  A fantastic website showcasing all Kumara has to offer. Voluntarily maintained by a local – only on the West Coast.

Highlights/Tips – It is a coastal ride until you ride over the cycle bridge that is clipped onto the Taramakau bridge – the only remaining combined road and rail bridge left in NZ. After the bridge you turn inland and ride through some scenic forest trails to reach Kumara. The cycle trail is bringing the history of the gold mining town alive. We enjoyed the historic Kumara hotel and across the road you find boards explaining the history of the region.

We were self sufficient with gear using panniers and a bike trailer carrying the gear we required  Services are available for transportation of gear to each of your nightly destinations.

DAY THREE – Kumura – Cowboy Paradise 37km – is it doable?

Biking –  This is the hardest day as you are going uphill and there are a few steep parts (only a few, though it did require our 8 year old to get off and push her bike a couple of times). The trail is signposted every 1 km.

Accommodation – Stayed at Cowboy Paradise.

Highlights/Tips – There is a worthwhile side trip not far out of Kumara to LondonDerry, this huge rock, the guide books claim potentially the largest in the world! Today you are heading up towards the mountains. On your way you enjoy resevoirs,  following the water races, single track through the forest – it was all just magical.

We were self sufficient with gear using panniers and a bike trailer carrying the gear we required  Services are available for transportation of gear to each of your nightly destinations.

DAY FOUR – Cowboy Paradise – Hokitika 37km – is it doable?

Biking – You cover this distance a little quicker as it has a good downhill section from Cowboy Paradise.  The trail is signposted every 1 km. The kids loved the well graded single trail through the forest along the water race. Lots of magical moments whizzing through the trees.

Accommodation  – Stayed in Hokitika..there are multiple accommodation options in Hokitika.

Highlights/Tips – This ride is primarily downhill and a great reward for some tired legs following the longer uphill day the day before – this day on the bike seemed to fly by. The switchbacks down to Arahua River from Cowboy Paradise. The beautiful Lake Kaniere (there is a bit of hill to get over before Lake Kaniere which Hollie was not too impressed by following day three). The single trails through the Kaniere water race – again just magical. There is a little bit of road riding on the last stretch into Hokitika. If you haven’t been to Hokitika it is a great little Westcoast coastal town.

DAY FIVE – Hokitika to Ross 36km – is it doable?

Biking – When we rode the trail in April 2016 and at this point in time  the trail was less developed than the previous sections . The signposting every 1 km had not been completed for this section of the trail.

Car Transfer – Our car was transferred to Ross and ready for us when we arrived.

Highlights/Tips – Now the minds and body were starting to tire. Everyone kept going knowing there were promises of ice cream and a return to Hokitika on the way home to enjoy Fat Pippa pizza. This ride did involve some road riding along State Highway 6 which felt a little challenging after being on back roads and trails the days previous. There was a large grassy shoulder so the kids were instructed to go onto the shoulder any time a car passed.

What skills will you need to do this ride? This track is a well graded grade 2 trail. You need to be comfortable riding on gravel and doing some relatively easy single track.

What level of fitness will you need to do this ride? You can complete the ride over as many days as you like and therefore determine how many kilometres you ride in a day. However due to where there is accommodation located it is likely riders will need to be comfortable riding 30-40km in a day. And they will need to ride this distance on consecutive days

How could the weather effect the success of your journey?  Expect the weather to play a part in your biking journey when you ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail. You are on the West Coast of New Zealand and thus likely to experience varied conditions You need to be prepared for all types of weather.

Riding with Kids Attached or Towed?

Be safe and comfortable when riding the West Coast Wilderness Trail

Enjoy our mulltiday bikepath riding pages that introduce gear and stories to get you ready to ride

Throughout this trail there is reasonable support with riding through towns such as Greymouth and Hokitika however there are times of remoteness especially from Kumara through to Hokitika so being prepared is important.Use our stories for multiday biking to help support you to be prepared to ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail

Gear set up – Jo 

Carrier and panniers – carrying sleeping bags and clothes

Backpack and hydration reservoir (Camelbak low rider 10L) 

Front frame bag – Camera and Valuables 

Seat bag – tools and spare tubes

 

Gear set up – Nic (Male adult)

Small Backpack 

Gear Trailer – Carrying food and clothes

Gear set up – Kids

Hydration backpack – carrying water a warm top and something special ( small) of their choice.

Enjoy the experience and have fun

There were many highlights enjoyed along the way.

  • The kids enjoyed the motivation that having a signpost every kilometre gave them. – find ways to celebrate your distance covered.
  • There is a lot of diversity and history along the ride – coastal riding, alpine outlook with  snow capped mountains, rivers, beautiful reservoirs, lakes and some west coast quirkiness like staying at Cowboy Paradise.
  • Having the The West Coast Wilderness riders handbook enabled the trail and environment they were riding through to come alive. The trail notes give you an understanding of the history and the stories of the land (the whenua) and the people (tangata whenua).

Sunset from Moonlight Tops.

Hollie on the top… a good view of the track.

End of the Paparoa… Punakaiki.

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