One of 22 NZ Cycle Trails (www.nzcycletrail.com), the 136km West Coast Wilderness Trail stretches from Greymouth to Ross, following gold-rush trails, reservoirs, old tramways and railway lines, forging new routes cross-country. Suitable for intermediate riders, the trail reveals dense rainforest, glacial rivers, lakes and wetlands, and views from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the wild Tasman Sea.

The trail is gently graded most of the way, and although the full shebang takes a good four days by bike, it can easily be sliced up into sections of various lengths, catering to every ability and area of interest. Novice riders can tackle the fairly easy 'Big Day Out' from Kawhaka to Kaniere, which takes in major highlights over seven hours, or a four-hour ride following Kumara's gold trails.

Bike hire, transport and advice are available from the major setting-off points. In Hokitika, contact Wilderness Trail Shuttle and in Greymouth Trail Transport.