West Coast, South Island, NZ

Tel: 0508 28 68 77 (within NZ)
Tel: +64 3 768 6649 (international)

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West Coast Rail Trail

Jade Country Ride: 3 Days----Sectors 5 to 13

About this Ride

From Kumara to Milltown to Hokitika to Ross (3 Days)

(Note: The 3rd day does not reach Ross yet. Construction target to reach Ross is June 2014. At present the last day is a circuit from Hokitika, along the bush railway formation around Lake Mahinapua to the Elevated Treetops Walk which is well worth a visit. Then back to Hokitika.)

This is a stunning hinterland ride past Alpine Mirror Lakes, through fern shrouded Rainforest  via the fun Cowboy Paradise village. It also passes the astonishing Elevated Treetops Walk with its viewing tower and cafe so it is definitely worth a visit

Give your self plenty of time as there are lots of side trails and things to do on route.

First Day: Kumara to Milltown, Sectors 5,6,7,8

Features: Alpine Mirror Lakes, rainforest ferns and mosses, birdlife, wetland boardwalk, trout fishing, swing bridge, Cesspools Canyon, Cowboy Paradise

This rail trail section follows a number of bush trams through rainforest, by alpine streams and past mirror-like lakes with amazing mountain reflections if you are there on a still day. The cycle path takes you across the Old Christchurch Road and follows a canal with great trout fishing and then it winds gently up the Kawhaka Valley. This valley has beautiful view points and will remind you of the New Zealand forests from Lord of The Rings with there ancient moss covered trees.

At just the place you are ready for it there is the Bush Cafe. You'll find them in Sector 7 set in some wonderful native bush right on the trail. This is the real Pioneer New Zealand, with Billy Tea & damper and a short guided heritage & Natural History walk if you're into that.

Once over the Pass you’ll coast along through virgin rainforest with massive Podacarp trees to the Swingbridge Canyon. This is an amazing spot to spend some time.

At the end of the second day, Sector 8, you'll find Cowboy Paradise. It's an 1860's Wild West Cowboy Town where you get to walk down the main street and shoot it up with real Colt 44's or Peacemakers. Not sure how to be a gun slinger? Then take a coaching session with Evil Roy to get the hang of it.

There is also a short 20 minute walk each way to the Arahura River Cesspools Canyon with a swing bridge providing another awesome photo platform. Well worth the detour.

Second Day: Milltown to Hokitika, Sectors 9,10,11

Features: Tourist Town, Kaniere Tramline, Farms, Fishing Spots, Dairy Factory, Gold Mining, Jade Carving, Goldroom, Glass blowing, Crafts, Cafes, Heritage Cinema, Farm visits, Lake Kaniere, water race pathway.

You’ll cycle past Lake Kaniere, along extensive old water raceways in magnificent rainforest to fresh pasture land and on to the Kaniere Village. This area is well known for its  velvet antler producing deer farms and its gold mining.

Passing through the Kaniere Vilage you join the Kaniere Tram Line that follows the Hokitika River, this sector gets you into Hokitika, the Jade capital of New Zealand. Give yourself plenty of time to have a look at all the wonderful galleries that you will find here.

We recommend a short walking tour with David Verrall or Brian Ward, they are story teller extraordinaires in the guise of New Zealand's Longest Serving Prime Minister, Richard Seddon and Dr Ebenezer Teichelmann, a long time GP and Doctor Superintendent in Hokitika, see Hokitika activities for more details.

Third Day: Hokitika Circuit to Treetops Walk and back again to Hokitika (to Ross after June 2014) Sectors 12 & 13

From Hokitika take a cycle alongside Mahinapua Creek, popular with local trout fishermen or if you want a relaxing sector then hop onto the Paddle Steamer with your bike, you’ll love this ride with its wonderful birdlife and wetland flora.

This takes you up to Lake Mahinapua where you get on your bike and cycle around the Lake.

You can stop off here to do the amazing Tree Top walkway. (allow 2 hours) This structure, built in the rainforest, gets you 30 metres up into the tree canopy for a whole different perspective on this environment. Definitely worth stopping for. Take a camera for some stunning shots.

You then cycle back on the wide shoulder of the highway. This is a very long  flat straight with plenty of space on the road shoulder for a safe ride.

 Read on for sector cycling times

 

Day One

S5: ROYAL HOTEL KUMARA TO LAKE HUT 8 KMS

Allow: 1 hour.

Features: Alpine Mirror Lakes, rainforest ferns and mosses, birdlife,


S6: LAKE HUT TO OLD CHCH RD BRIDGE 7 KMS

Allow: 1 hour.

Features: Alpine Mirror Lakes, wetland boardwalk,rainforest ferns and mosses, birdlife. 


S7: OLD CHCH RD BRIDGE TO KAWHAKA PASS 11 KMS

Allow: 2 hours.

Features: Rainforest ferns and mosses, trout fishing, birdlife, alpine streams to drink from. 


S8: KAWHAKA PASS TO MILLTOWN 7 KMS

Allow: 1 hour.

Features: Rainforest ferns and mosses, trout fishing, birdlife, alpine streams to drink from, Swingbridge Canyon, Cowboy Paradise.

 

Day Two

S9: MILLTOWN TO LAKE KANIERE 11 KMS

This sector is on a gravel road shared with vehicles. it has a steep section where you may need to walk your bike

Allow: 1.5 hours.

Features: Arahura River Blue Surge Pools. 


S10: LAKE KANIERE TO KANIERE VILLAGE 15 KMS

Allow: 2 hours.

Features: Farm visits, Lake Kaniere, water race pathway. 


S11: KANIERE VILLAGE TO HOKITIKA 5 KMS

Allow: 1 hour.

Features: Tourist Town. 

 

Day Three

S12: HOKITIKA TO TREETOPS WALKWAY 17 KMS

Allow:              1 hour one way

           or          2 hours return to Hokitika

           or add   2 hours to do the Rainforest Aerial Tree Tops Walkway

Features: Paddle Boat Cruise section, Lake Mahinapua, birdlife, Tree Tops walkway. 


S13:TREETOPS WALKWAY TO ROSS: 16 KMS

Allow: 2 hours

Features: Trestle Truss Bridges, wetlands, beaches, Gold Town. 


 

Ways to Ride the Trail

Self Guided DIY Option: 

  • We provide comfort cycles with a puncture repair kit, drink bottle and helmets with a trail map from a Trail Base.
  • You do the trail at your own pace
  • You return your bike back to the Trail Base.
  • Shuttles are available but at an additional cost.

Guided Option: 

  • We provide comfort cycles with a drink bottle and helmets from a Trail Base.
  • Your guide helps you pace the day to suit your interests and energy levels as you go
  • You return your bike back to the Trail Base.
  • Shuttles are available but at an additional cost.
  • You will not get lost or miss anything on the way as you'll have your guides local knowledge.
  • They'll also help you meet interesting characters during your day and ensure you only pay locals rates for anything you purchase on your visit.
  • Your guide is a qualified first aid responder with a kit, is a bike mechanic, will repair any punctures for you and carries communications with them. 

Self Guided and Supported Option: 

  • We provide comfort cycles with a puncture repair kit, drink bottle and helmets with a trail map from a Trail Base.
  • We supply you a lightweight “Support Kit” which includes a scratch kit for minor first aid, emergency weather protection and an emergency locator beacon.
  • You do the trail at your own pace.
  • In the even of bad weather we will arrange alternative options for you.
  • We shuttle your bike back to the Trail Base.
  • We meet you at the end of your ride and will Sherpa Shuttled you back to your starting point which saves you from having to cycle back.
  • Or we will meet you at the end of your ride with your luggage and/or vehicle.

Guided and Supported Option: 

  • We provide comfort cycles with a drink bottle and helmets from a Trail Base.
  • Your guide helps you pace the day to suit your interests and energy levels as you go
  • We shuttle your bike back to the Trail Base. 
  • You will not get lost or miss anything on the way as you'll have your guides local knowledge.
  • They'll also help you meet interesting characters during your day and ensure you only pay locals rates for anything you purchase on your visit.
  • Your guide is a qualified first aid responder with a kit, is a bike mechanic, will repair any punctures for you and carries communications with them. 
  • In the event of bad weather your guide will take you to alternative activities and organise a shuttle for the day.
  • We meet you at the end of your ride and will Sherpa Shuttled you back to your starting point which saves you from having to cycle back.
  • Or we will meet you at the end of your ride with your luggage and/or vehicle.

Prices:

Since there are many options involved in putting together your multi day ride it is easiest if you choose the ride you want and then click on the BOOKING icon to send us an email.

We will then email you back a Trip Planner form in which tells you what you need to plan. You can then indicate on the form what you wouild like us to supply, and what you will have or do for yourself. Send it back and we will give you a package price for you.

Frequently asked questions....

What accommodation is there? 

There is a range of accommodation along the trail which we will arrange for you. On the Trip Planning form you will be able to include what accommodation you want and in what price range.

What happens to my bags?

We can move your bags for you each day so that they are at your accommodation when you get there. On the Trip Planning form you can indicate how many bags you want shuttled.

How do I get me and my bike back to the start?

We will also shuttle you and your bike and bags at the end of your ride so indicate that to us on the Trip planning form as well. Alternately we can shuttle your vehicle to you when you finish your ride.

What do I get if I purchase a Package with you for my cycle ride?

Everyone has different requirements so we email you a Ride Planning Form/ It details all the aspects of your ride that you need to consider. Then you indicate what you would like us to do for you. Email it back and we will give you a price along with a list of the inclusions you asked for. We will let you know if we think you have left anything out.

How do I get to the start?

As part of your package we can arrange transport to or from Christchurch. You indicate this to us on the Planner if you want us to do this 

8 Whall St, Greymouth, West Coast, South Island, NZ