New Zealand Cy­cle Tour: A win­ter ride on the West Coast Wilder­ness Trail

It’s mid­win­ter and you’re go­ing bik­ing on the West Coast? You must be crazy, said my friends, writes Kathy Om­bler.

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

It turns out we weren’t. Set­tled weather, clear skies, fresh snow sparkling on the Alps, no crowds, no sand­flies - what wasn’t to like about rid­ing the new West Coast Wilder­ness Trail in mid-July?

Sure, it was a tad frosty, but we were out there ex­er­cis­ing, keep­ing warm, and at night there were the cosy pubs where we could share the fire with friendly Coast­ers.

The new cy­cle trail is fast gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity, says Wilder­ness Trail Shut­tle owner, en­vi­ron­ment restora­tion vol­un­teer and ab­so­lute trail en­thu­si­ast, Chris Steel. “The ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries on the Coast have gone. What’s hap­pen­ing now is a big tourism re­think and an in­creas­ing amount of that is fo­cused around bik­ing.

“We have groups com­ing from Auck­land, Tau­ranga, Can­ter­bury and from over­seas. Some are do­ing day trips, based from one place, and some are rid­ing the whole 130kms then turn­ing round and rid­ing back to the start.”

Af­ter just an hour on the trail it’s easy to see why it’s al­ready so pop­u­lar. www.walk­

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