West Coast Wilderness Trail – Upper Arahura Valley to Kumara


Another magical winter’s day on the West Coast – perfect for our guests Jules from Auckland and her son Max and his girlfriend Lauren from Melbourne.  They are doing a road trip, complete with bikes and skies so lots of adventures along the way – great way to see the country.

Jules, Max and Lauren wcwt

During their stay with us they wanted to experience some of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.  With it not 100% complete and limited time we wanted to ensure they saw the most scenic part without having to do any road riding.

guests leaving theatre royal hotel WCWT bike ride

Our Plan – ride it too!  Take two cars – leave our car at Kumara – Jules, Max and Lauren start their ride while we drive to the other end in the Upper Arahura Valley and leave their car there.  We would pass somewhere on the track and be able to swap keys.  This plan ensured Jules and family rode as much as the track as possible without having to do any doubling back.  Jules was also interested in the gold mining history of the region thanks to reading Eleanor Catton’s Luminaries – so this way they would drive through Kaniere and into Hokitika – lots of gold mining history to soak up.

Lake Kaniere reflections

Dressed for winter riding – it is the first frost for us at home and there is plenty of snow on the mountain tops so we know this ride will be cold.  It is an early start and passing by Lake Kaniere we have a compulsory stop for photographs.  Picture perfect and Stephen couldn’t resist.

mountain biking Upper Arahua Valley

biking Upper Arahua Valley WCWT

cowboy paradise WCWT mountain bike ride

Following Milltown Road to the Upper Arahura Valley car park we’re ready to head off.  It sure is beautiful up this valley.  The trail slowly winds it way up the hill-side heading towards Cowboy Paradise.  The views are magnificent – surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the beautiful blue of the river and gorgeous lush farmland.  This is farmland we’re biking through – and yes there are farm animals – big beautiful healthy looking cows.  Unfortunately can’t quite see them in the photos but they were mighty specimens and totally oblivious to us biking past them.

Mawhera Reserve west coast wilderness trail

MacPherson Creek suspension bridge west coast wilderness trail

On through a small section of forest – the Mawhera Reserve and this is like biking through Jurassic Park.  I love to let me imagination run wild, all the moss coating the trees and ferns hanging down – fantastic.  Then we’re onto the wonderful MacPherson Creek swingbridge – am impressive bridge over a deep ravine or gorge – beautiful what ever it is.  Yes that is frost you can see on the boards of the bridge!

biking along river west coast wilderness trail

We’ve then got quite a bit of 4WD road to follow.  Not a used road or well used road anyway and lovely being surrounded by all the snow-capped mountains.  Eventually we end up back on single track in the Kawhaka forest and following the Kawhaka river.  This is where we meet back up with Jules, Max and Lauren.  They are enjoying their experience and blown away with the trail – loving the amazing scenery and wilderness – perfect, just what we want to hear.

On a bit further and we choose this for our lunch spot.  Again organised today with a packed lunch – but we have a reward waiting for us back at the Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara come the end of our ride…….. (you know you can count on me!)

reflections kawhaka water race west coast wilderness trail

Onwards – can’t stop for too long as it is jolly chilly.  The trail now winds its way following the Kawhaka water race for about 5kms.  Since leaving Cowboy Paradise we’ve had high cloud but now some patches of blue are coming back and pockets of sunshine to help warm us up a bit.  The water race gives some great, moody reflections.

boardwalk west coast wilderness trail

Another 4WD bush section, before we cross a winding boardwalk across the Loopline Road wetland and then we’re riding around the Kapitea reservoir lakes.  Gorgeous around here and with the cloud breaking up we are again afforded some amazing and dramatic winter reflections.

mountain reflections west coast wilderness trail

Not much further to go now – thank goodness as the legs are starting to get rather lethargic, it has been a long day in the saddle – well seems like it anyway and been incredibly cold.  Trust us to pick the coldest day so far this winter to go for a long bike ride!

mountain bikes outside theatre royal hotel kumara

All good though we soon enter the little historic gold mining town of Kumara – making a bee-line for the Theatre Royal Hotel, the end of our ride – hot chocolate and muffin most definitely in order. A near perfect day out in the saddle and great to experience more of the West Coast Wilderness Trail and better still to share it with our guests.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Keen mountain bikers and hikers and with Stephen a photographer, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the West Coast.  The West Coast named one of the top ten regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet – make sure you add it to your list of places to visit and check out the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

 

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
This entry was posted in cycling, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to West Coast Wilderness Trail – Upper Arahura Valley to Kumara

  1. Glenda Lee says:

    Awesome Jan and Stephen can’t wait to bike this stage 🙂

    • coastingnz says:

      Lovely ride of contrasts Glenda. Recommend direction we did it – which works for you living in Hoki – it is less climby that direction and you get to finish at the Theatre Royal for a cuppa! LOL

  2. bulldog says:

    Lake Kaniere … what a brilliant photo Stephen… you could easily do a coffee table book of your photos…
    Jan you describe a ride so well that I’m surprised you have not already got a book “Biking the Trails with Jan and Stephen”… by the time you’ve finished describing your ride my legs are a little lethargic… you should really think about the book idea… “ride the trails with Jan and Stephen” or “My Paradise the West Coast of NZ”… you two make a masterful pair…

    • coastingnz says:

      Thanks Rob, you make me blush! Actually I am thinking about it, just trying to get my head around it. Thought is perhaps something I could do as a memento for our guests to buy of their visit to the West Coast…… pondering, pondering……

      • bulldog says:

        Now that is what I was thinking… you have a market, that might know other people who visit the area and take a copy for them as well… naturally your address and contact numbers would be in the book too .. might just be more visitors and more tours for you and Stephen…

      • coastingnz says:

        naturally 🙂 – I’m going online today to look into it further. We have photobooks as our in-room guest compendiums and whilst it is a nice product think may need something a little more durable to sell. I have a project – wish me luck!…..

      • bulldog says:

        You go for it… you have so much to share…

  3. Beautiful ride. And I get Stephen’s inability to resist ‘picture perfect’ photos. I suffer from the same addiction. 🙂 –Curt

  4. joshi daniel says:

    the third picture is awesome 🙂

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