So blessed to have the West Coast Wilderness Trail at our doorstep. At around 135kms, it can easily be broken into bite size (or is that bike size….) chunks. This means we can do same, same or mix it up a bit and do a different section depending on time, mood and yes even sometimes the weather.
Recently we had both time on our side and gorgeous weather so headed to Lake Kaniere to bike up the Arahura Valley to Cowboys Paradise, plus a little bit further to the swing-bridge and then back again.
The scenery at this end of the trail is nothing short of breathtaking with a Kodak moment around every corner. While I’m sure it is gorgeous and moody on a misty, cloudy day too, having the blue skies and sunshine, the scenery was just popping, as were our eyes at all the beautiful views surrounding us.
The first section is on gravel road – called Milltown Road heading down into the valley plains and then following the beautiful blue waters of the Arahura River.
Eventually the trail leaves the gravel road and enters into farmland, winding its way up through the farm paddocks. Looks like quite the climb but the trail has been nicely done zig zagging back and forth taking the sting out of the pinch up. The views are fantastic too every time you zag back to the zig lol
There is an ideally placed lookout seat near the top where we take a short break and marvel at the views of the towering bush clad mountains and the sparkling waters of the river below.
Pretty soon we reach the end of the farm trail and ride through Cowboys Paradise. A destination in its own right but pretty quiet on this visit so we ride through, back into a short bush and paddock section to the impressive swingbridge over a ravine and gorge. From here it is a steady climb up through the forest but for this ride, the swingbridge was always our destination for today so after a couple of photos we turn around to start the ride back.
We managed to find an ideal spot to perch up for our lunch. Strategically situated we spy a bench with bit of scrub for protection from the wind and we could sit there and enjoy our picnic lunch and soak up the beauty of our surrounds in amongst the farmland and mountains. We both comment this would be an awesome walk as well as a bike ride with lots of diversity with the climb up through the paddock and then in through the native bush section.
Back on the south side of Cowboys Paradise and we have the fun of making our way down the paddock we’d climbed up earlier. We don’t follow the zig zag this time – it is much more fun taking more direct lines down the face of the grassy paddocks – a bit of whooping and hollering ensues and grins from ear to ear – now that was fun!
The drawback of this ride is often the ride back out of the valley – usually with a change in wind direction meaning a full on head wind. Happy to report that was not the case in this instance. The wind had picked up but thankfully it was more a side wind than head on so easier to negotiate.
Riding back along the gravel road we’re constantly looking toward (note toward not forward to – yes there is a difference…..) the final hill climb to get back to the car. Without the head wind to contend with it isn’t as bad as we had resigned ourselves to, we’ve got the beautiful blue waters beside us and we were at the top before we knew it, few more corners on a fast pedal and we round the last one to see the car again.
Another excursion out on the bike on the West Coast Wilderness Trail finished with a big smile – there may or may not have been an ice cream stop forthcoming – on that I couldn’t possibly confirm or deny…….
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Coast Road north of Greymouth. They love getting out walking and biking and exploring the beautiful West Coast they are lucky enough to call home.