Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and history of the famous West Coast with 4 easy days of cycling followed by 4 days of magical walking.
The first 4 days we spend cycling in a landscape rich in beauty and history. Distances average around 30km a day, and the cycling is suitable for beginners and families.
Where else can you see such diversity: towns, alps, lakes, rivers, wetlands, ocean and native bush, all in such close proximity?
The next 4 days are walking and you experience a diverse range of rugged and dramatic landscapes including alpine bush, Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, historical gold trails, wondrous coastal beaches, captivating lakes and luxuriant West Coast rainforests.
Some of the short walks are in the spectacular Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
7-12 Day Tour
8 days / 7 nights
An average level of fitness. Walk 7kms, Bike 25kms. Well formed tracks and roads with very little incline.
We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Greymouth to Kumara
Welcome along! Your tour begins with a scenic coach journey from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains and over Arthurs Pass to Greymouth. Originally established as home for hundreds of gold and coal miners following the 1860’s gold rush, Greymouth today enjoys popularity as a base for fishing, hiking and other recreational activities with its wild river, rugged native bush-covered hills and pounding surf.
Today from Greymouth you’ll start your ride cycling 12km down a coastal path on a raised dune system. Along the way enjoy views over several small settlements and the surrounding countryside as you follow the spectacular coastline of the Tasman Sea. The trail then continues on the scenic route south to Taramakau, between Greymouth and Hokitika. Turning inland from here, you’ll head to Kumara along a historic tramway. Kumara is a former gold mining town and home of one of New Zealand’s greatest early politicians, Richard Seddon.
Tonight your overnight stay is in a charming historic hotel in Kumara.
Kumara to Milltown
Charming Historic Hotel
Your ride continues this morning with a ride through rainforest as you head towards Milltown.
This section of the route (and indeed the trail itself) is certain to become one of New Zealand’s most popular cycle rides, offering stunning scenery and fascinating local history. You will pass through some of the best stands of native forest left in New Zealand on your journey today.
Milltown overlooks the Arahura Valley, an area once rich in gold and still known as the source of the highly prized pounamu (greenstone).
Tonight your stay is in Hokitika, a pretty seaside town known for its greenstone carving industry and home to many artisans and craftspeople.
Milltown to Hokitika
Your ride today starts at the head of the Arahura River, which rises from the Southern Alps and meets the Tasman Sea just north of Hokitika.
You’ll pass water raceways, rich dairy farmland and the tranquil Lake Kaniere, described by some as ”the most beautiful lake in New Zealand”. Formed by glacial erosion in the last ice age, Lake Kaniere itself is only 8km long and 2km wide but can be as deep as 195 metres in places and is surrounded by verdant native bush, making it a popular spot for campers and holiday makers in the summer. You bike through a section of towering ancient rimu forest and tree ferns.
Tonight, you’ll spend a second night in Hokitika.
Hokitika to Ross
Your day starts with an easy coastal ride, then follows the bush tramway past Lake Mahinapua. It is a great ride through typical West Coast bush and wetlands.
The final leg of the cycle ride follows a disused railway line with a number of distinctive wooden bridges and wild west coast coastal scenery to your next and final stop the gold mining, farming and forestry town of Ross.
Ross is a small West Coast town where New Zealand’s largest gold nugget, “The Honourable Roddy” was found.
We stop in at the West Coast Treetop Walkway and Cafe for lunch and a walk amongst the treetops with the birds on the specially constructed walkway.
We then return to Hokitika for the night.
Hokitika to Franz Josef
We depart from Hokitika on a short scenic drive to Ross.
Your guide will take you on an expedition along the Water Race Walkway, which is an historic gold trail that winds its way up the hill behind the township.
Stride through the regenerating bush and pass a network of water races that supplied water to the sluicing operations of the Ross Goldfields. There will be an opportunity to pan for gold here. Enjoy a picnic lunch before starting the Hari Hari Coastal Walk. Following the old packhorse tracks alongside the Wanganui River you will experience a mixture of bush and beach walking.
Tonight you will enjoy an evening meal in the interesting alpine village of Franz Josef, nestled at the foot of the Southern Alps.
Franz Josef to Okarito
This morning’s walk will start in Okarito, a small coastal settlement surrounded by the panorama of ocean, tidal estuary, sea cliffs, lush forest and unsurpassed views of the Southern Alps.
Indulge in amazing panoramic views of the Westland National Park coastline before your guide leads you along the inland route, and then over the Kohuamarua Bluff. This is a great spot to meander through towering rimu, rata and silver pine forest, before dropping down to a quiet sheltered lagoon.
After lunch you can take a peek inside the hut on the old jetty at Okarito. Here you can view old photos of the area and there is a storyboard illustrating the history of Okarito. We then go on an exclusive boat tour on the lagoon and hear about and see the abundant flora and fauna of the area
Enjoy another night in Franz Josef village and a great meal with your group.
Today’s itinerary maty be reversed as the walk is tide dependant.
Franz Josef to Fox Glacier
This morning depart on foot from the centre of Franz Josef township, your guide will lead the group along the Te Ara a Waiau Walkway. The track heads into the forest on the left-hand side of the road for a short time, before re-emerging from the forest and crossing the glacier valley access road. From this point you begin the Franz Josef Glacier Walk, following a rocky path over the riverbed and along the track that will take you close to the ice (dependant on conditions). From here it is back to the carpark and all aboard for Fox Glacier
This afternoon you will view the dramatic ice on the Fox Glacier Walk. After inspecting ice in the river and enjoying the boulder hopping, you view the striking terminal ice face, which is a spectacular experience.
With a very unique and diverse day of walking under your belt you overnight in the town of Fox Glacier and enjoy restaurant dining with fantastic views of the area.
Fox Glacier to Hokitika
Today is the final day of your walking tour, before breakfast, you will take in truly stunning vistas on the Lake Matheson Walk. Your group will stroll along a very pleasant track with plenty of viewing platforms for capturing the famous mirror images of Mount Cook, Tasman and La Perous from different angles.
The lake is nestled in ancient forest in the Te Wahipounamu South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area, which includes the Westland Tai Pountini National Park. The lake was formed over 14,000 years ago when the Fox Glacier retreated from its last major advance towards the sea and left a depression which later filled with water.
After your walk around Lake Matheson you will enjoy a hearty and much deserved breakfast before setting off back to Hokitika.
Your tour finishes in Hokitika or Christchurch.
Double or twin share. If single room accommodation is requested, an additional fee per person is payable to cover this requirement for the duration of the tour.
Not available on the walk
Bike Hire NZD$155
Electric Bike Hire NZD$400
You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking. All meals are included in your tour cost except your evening meal on night Five. Wine and other beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
Tuatara Tours transports all your luggage for the duration of the tour.
All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch. We do the rest
To ensure you get the very best out of your journey with the least of fuss, we provide you with a kit bag full of useful goodies.
This will be given to you at the start of your tour.
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.