Last week Jonathan rode the West Coast Wilderness Trail with Bronwen Wall and Martin and Marie Langley. We rode the whole trail from Ross to Greymouth (yes, that is backwards) and had a great time.
If you are planning on doing it soon, you need to be aware that much of it is not well signposted, and there are some bits worth riding that you may think are closed, as well as bits that are closed that you might think are open.
So here is a quick update. If you have any questions, let us know.
3 km out of Ross you will have to cross the Totara River. We walked across the river (30 cm high), but if you are careful you can go on the bridge. The railway line north of here has just been cleared of gorse and is an easy ride (last week we had to bash through 2 km of the prickly stuff).
Make sure you drop in to the Tree Tops Walkway and then do the Mananui Tramline (aka Mahinapua Walkway). It is all good to ride.
2.5 km north of the tramline, on the highway, you will reach a bridge at Mahinapua Creek and see the end of Golf Links Road 20 metres away. Squeeze through a wire fence and then ride down Golf Links Road. It is very quiet and takes you to the Hoki River Bridge, with a clip on taking you to the town.
You have to ride on the road most of the way to Kaniere and then along Lake Kaniere Road, BUT make sure you turn left at this sign (Hurunui Jacks). It leads to several kilometres of new track that is a lot of fun. About 1 km from this sign is an unmarked track fork. Turn left to stay on the new trail. It leads to Wards Road, where you have to turn left again, and then after 700 metres turn right onto the Kaniere Water Race. Lots of fun.
There is now brand new accommodation at Cowboy Paradise – right where you need it. There is also a saloon where you can buy drinks and meals.
This is a great place to stay, with LOADS of character. You’ll love it. Book ahead, as it is likely to be popular. The new phone number is 03 280 9559.
The track from Cowboy Paradise all the way to Kumara is finsished and everyone loves it.
An icon of how cycle trails can rejuvinate a small town. This is a great place to visit, but if it is booked out they will be able to help you find somewhere else to stay in Kumara. Several houses are being restored for cycists accommodation.
Now, from Kumara there is only 2.6 km of riding to do on the highway. Then turn off down Parsmore Road, and 5 metres down the road you will see the brand new section of cycle trail on your left. It leads all the way to the Highway near the Taramakau River Bridge.
If you are travelling from the north then make sure you turn down the Tram Road. This new section is really worth hunting out.
And here is the new section on the historic Kumara Tram Line. Last Friday there was only 200 metres left to build – easy enough to walk, and it might be finished by now.
From the Taramakau River Bridge, hang a sharp left and follow the off road trail all the way to Greymouth. It is obviously getting a lot of use from locals at this end. The path is worn smooth already.