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West Coast to the East Coast of the South Island: New Zealand

For all potential Coast to Coast venturers and anyone who is fascinated by the people who undertake such an adventure, this is your opportunity to enjoy a great journey, undertaken at a more leisurely pace over a few days.

Driving over Arthurs Pass, few could imagine what the Coast to Coast adventure race is really like.  Physical and mental resilience plays a big part in the one day event.   Spending two days amongst the countryside of Goat Pass, however, is a much different experience:  one that gives you time to appreciate your surroundings, and an achievable goal.

The rafting section of this trip is also completed over a two-day period, with an overnight camp alongside the Waimakariri River.  The beauty of rafting, as opposed to kayaking, is that you need no previous experience and it is suitable for everybody.

Once we’ve added biking to the tramping and rafting aspects of the trip, you’ll be one of the very few people able to honestly claim that they’ve completed the Coast to Coast journey … from the West to East Coast of New Zealand!

Day 1: The Beginning

We gather the team, the gear and the food and, starting from Christchurch, we travel by road to the West Coast, via Arthurs Pass.  We catch the evening sunset and spend the night on the high terrace of Hokitika, looking out over the sea – while we pack bags and organise our equipment and supplies.

Day 2: Our Big Day!

Be prepared for an early start!  Leaving Hokitika at 6.00 am, we have a short drive to Kumara beach, then we’re on the bike by 7.00 am.  After 4-5 hours, and 68 km of biking through undulating terrain (but no big hills), we’ll be at the base of Deception Valley – and with a bit of luck, we’ll be rewarded with a coffee at Jacksons.  The area we bike through is awesome native forest and river flats, as the road follows the banks of the Taramakau and in the distance, you can see the South Island’s Southern Alps, which, of you course, you will soon be crossing.

After a roadside lunch, we leave the road behind and begin our ascent up the Deception Valley towards Goat Pass.  Our mountain run is 26 km in total, and after 5-6 hours, you’ll be more than happy to reach Goat Pass Hut, where we’ll spend the night.  We can almost guarantee that you’ll sleep well.

And just before you drift off into a dreamless sleep, spare a thought for the competitive Coast to Coasters, who by now would have completed the entire Speight’s Coast to Coast longest day event!

Day 3: Over the Divide

After a night breathing high country air, we begin our descent down the Minga Valley and after a nice walk/run, winding through beech forest, we rejoin the Arthurs Pass highway.  Waiting at the valley’s end and road edge are our support vehicles and supplies.

After a break, we’re ready for our 15km bike ride beside the open headwaters of the braided Waimakariri river,  to the Mount White Bridge – the start point for the river journey section of the Coast to Coast.

Once at the river, we transfer to Flock Hill for our evening meal and accommodation … a taste of home comfort before heading in the wilds again the next day.

Day 4: Top the River

After an early breakfast and a short drive back to the river, we begin our 60 km journey towards the coast.  Early morning river travel is often a pleasure: as the sun comes up and you float down the river, you get time to look back on the mountain you’ve passed through and reflect on the energy it has taken.  And now, if the weather’s on your side, you can let the water do its thing, gaining valuable and easy miles before the afternoon head winds strike.

Part way though the Waimakariri gorge, we set up our riverside camp for the evening.  Relax away from the busy, urban life that so many of us live in, enjoy some campfire cooking and the company of others travelling on this amazing journey with you.

Day 5: To the Beach on the East

Once again, if the weather’s on our side, we’ll enjoy the early morning travel on the water, making our way towards the sea through the gorges of the Waimak.  This is without a doubt the only way to really see this country.

With good conditions, we should be enjoying lunch at the Waimak Gorge bridge by midday, leaving us a bike ride of around 60km out through the Canterbury Plains’ towns of Oxford, Cust, Rangiora and finally Woodend – where you’ll start to smell salt air and success.

You may not have completed the Coast to Coast in one day, but you’ll have done it – and done it in your own inimitable style, and in a way that allows you to really absorb it, and appreciate the country. What an unbeatable sense of satisfaction and achievement!

Ability

A reasonable standard of fitness and confidence in water is required: a minimum age may apply.

Accommodation and Getting There

We can arrange all your transport and accommodation requirements.

Bring your own bike, or we can arrange bikes for you.

Please bring your own hiking gear, day pack and boots – gear list provided.

Cost includes:

  • accommodation in Hokitika and Flock Hill
  • all meals, drinks and snacks
  • all river travel equipment, including camping gear.

Prices and Options

Three Nights – Four days

Adult $1800

Children $1550

Waimakariri Day Trip $250

Waimakariri Multi-Day                  $650

Departure Dates

The rafting season runs from October to the beginning of April. Please enquire for more details as trips depend on water levels.