West Coast Wilderness Trail – Hokitika to Lake Kaniere, a Ride of Two Halves


Back on our bikes again and it is good to give the legs a stretch after our mission ride from our Heaphy weekend.

This time we’re taking it a bit more easy and just making the most of the nice day.

Hokitika clock tower

We’ve driven down to Hokitika as I’m keen to check out the Hokitika to Lake Kaniere section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

west coast wilderness trail at hokitika

Now we love the West Coast Wilderness Trail and we generally don’t like to bag something  – we like to try and see the positive in most things but today our ride can only be described as a ride of two halves or even perhaps the good, the bad and the ugly – well not quite but definitely the good and the bad.

country roads west coast wilderness trail

The bad would be the amount of road riding.  Don’t get us wrong, it does pass through some lovely farm land following the Hokitika River up the valley but given it is a country road that is slightly windy we think (and hope) some serious effort needs to be made to get more of this section off road.  In reality it may not be possible and we are possibly just spoilt with the rest of the trail – this is just our opinion as we like to do 1/2 day trips so each to their own.

forest section hurunui jacks west coast wilderness trail

west coast wilderness trail lake kaniere

That said, after around 12kms we leave the main road and head into the native bush via Hurunui Jacks.  Now we enter the good.

crossing the kaniere river on west coast wilderness trail

The trail meanders through the forest heading toward the Kaniere water race track.  It is very pretty here in the bush following the Hokitika water supply line that feeds the Kaniere River of which we see the occasional glimpse of.

water edge lake kaniere water race west coast wilderness trail

kaniere water race west coast wilderness trail

At Ward Road we meet the junction of the Kaniere Water Race track where we enter the Wilderness Trail side of the Race Track.  The water race itself was hand dug back in the mid 1800s – no excuse to huff and puff in here given the real work that has already been done many years before us  – that and the fact that it is very flat…….

bridge crossing over kaniere water race west coast wilderness trail

west coast wilderness trail kaniere water race track

The Kaniere river follows the track down on the forest floor while we are up on the water race.  On stopping for a photo we notice incredibly tall Rimu trees looming just off the side of the trail – pays to look but stop first as you don’t want to end up in the water race!

duck on lake kaniere

This section of the trail ends at the shores of Lake Kaniere and that is our destination – or turn around point for the day.  The lake is calm giving some great reflections and we meet a very friendly little duck having fun in the current from the intake to the water race.

boardwalk along side kaniere water race west coast wilderness trail

Time to get back on our bikes and do it all in reverse as we head back to Hoki.  If you’re doing the whole cycle trail this road section probably won’t bother you but as we do many little half day trips, this probably isn’t one we’d rush back to.

in the bush west coast wilderness trail

Nex time we’ll start at Hurunui Jacks to eliminate the main road and perhaps bike to Milltown carpark – watch this space, we might do that next time around…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy hiking and biking and getting out and exploring the many offerings of the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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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.
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