There are several places you can stop on the way to Harihari. The emptiness of the bush clad road and glimpses
of sea gives way to thirty kilometre stretches between established townships and old settlements. If you want a
brief day's cycle, stop at Franz Josef, another established tourist town with all facilities (23 kilometres out
from Fox Glacier) or Whataroa (55 kilometres out with backpackers, store and camping behind the pub).
The road is generally rolling downhill but interrupted by Mt. Hercules (200 metres), not an onerous climb. Many
people stop at Okarito, a sleepy, picturesque settlement around 46 kilometres from Fox Glacier. This is a few
kilometres down a side road just before Whataroa. It is a lovely spot and offers basic facilities including
backpackers and a DOC campground. Harihari has pub, store, camping and backpackers.
This is a relatively easy day's ride passing through bush and sea scapes and the towns of Pukekura (24
kilometres from Harihari) and Ross (22 kilometres). Both have camping/backpackers facilities and a store. The
road winds and rolls easily enough until just past Ross where it flattens out for the last twenty kilometres to
Hokitika. Ross is also the starting point of the
West Coast Wilderness Trail,
a wonderful trail which stitches together old tram lines with bush trails on its progress through to Hokitika.
Hokitika sits on the coast and is a well established town with all the facilities you could want. Cafés,
internet, camping, supermarket etc. You might be tempted to cycle on to Greymouth, a further 40 kilometres but
Hokitika has a charm all of its own and is not to be overlooked. The sandy beachfront is covered with driftwood
and, being on the West Coast, makes it ideal for sunset walks.
From Hokitika the Wilderness Trail heads inland up and through Kawhaka Pass before returning to the coast, just after
Kumara Junction, and continuing through to Greymouth. The more direct route along the highway is relatively
flat and borders the sea for much of the way, with the option to pick up the trail again at Kumara Junction.
This completes the greater part of your West Coast trip. Greymouth is the largest of the West Coast towns and
has most of what you will need including bike shops, camping grounds, backpackers, internet and supermarkets.
Once you arrive in Greymouth, you have three choices of where to go next:
Head over to Christchurch through the alpine route of Arthur's Pass.