Kumara to Greymouth via West Coast Wilderness TrailIntermediate
Submitted by Catriona McWhirter
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Front country - easily accessible
Point to Point (one way)
Native bushCoastalRiversideOpen farmlandsOther
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The Kumara to Greymouth section of the West Coast Wilderness trail can be run either as an easy 29km off-road run on its own or as the final leg of the entire 133km Wilderness Trail (first leg if run in reverse). As a low level route which is never far from civilisation, it can be a good option for foul weather or winter days.
Assuming one starts from Kumara, turn left out of the carpark and then almost immediately left again onto Greenstone Road, which has an unmissable bright orange West Coast Wilderness Trail sign at the junction. Less than 1km down this road, another orange sign indicates another left turn onto a gravel road - continue to follow the orange markers along this and soon the road narrows slightly to well maintained, wide gravel singletrack.
This trail initially follows the Taramakau River through bush for a few kilometres, before a less enjoyable section of similar length with farmland to your right and the main road to your left. At least it's short and downhill though, so you will find yourself back in the bush before you know it; this time following a historic tramline through the forest for another few km. The well maintained trail and very slight downhill gradient make for easy and enjoyable running for several kms until you meet SH6 just before the Taramakau Bridge.
A thankfully brief section on a wide pavement alonside SH6 leads down to the Taramakau crossing where the new and old bridges cross the river in parallel. Information panels provide a good summary of the fascinating history of the Taramakau Crossing. Enjoy the views as you cross the new bridge! After the bridge, it's back to running on gravel trail.
The first 1km after the bridge is away from the roadside, but then you follow it again for 4km until you reach the small settlement of Gladstone, where is thin veneer of bush provides a pleasant barrier between the trail and SH6 for 2km until Paroa. The final 11km leg from the Paroa Hotel to the end of the trail on Mawhera Quay runs alongisde the beach with frequent views of the wild Tasman Sea at each gap in the flax bushes. Running this section as the sun sets is a delight.
Upon reaching Blaketown breakwater, the trail then follows the Mawhera floodwall to the end of the trail... which is conveniently just across the road from Speight's Alehouse! Fear not - if you run the trail in reverse you also finish a stone's throw from a pub - the wonderful Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara!
Features of interest
Historic gold-mining town of Kumara, old and new Taramakau bridges, West Coast beach and coastal views, stunning views of the distant Alps on a clear day, fabulous sunsets if you do an evening run, industrial heritage in Greymouth, lots of interesting information panels along the trail.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 0%
Moderate Single Track: 0%
Easy Single Track: 92%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%
Gravel Road: 5%
Sealed Road: 3%
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Large public carpark with toilet block opposite Cashman Street. On the main road through Kumara so easy to spot. When you start running, turn left out of the carpark, then almost immediately left again down Greenstone Road following the orange West Coast Wilderness Trail markers and signs.
Alternative start: The route can be done in reverse, beginning alongside the river just opposite the train station and Speight's Alehouse.
There is ample parking available in aforementioned car park in Kumara. It is on the main road and I am not aware of any break ins or thefts from there. If starting from Greymouth, there are time limits on parking near the start so you would have to walk/run 1-2km to the start or get someone to drop you off. Trail shuttles are also available - see the West Coast Wilderness Trail website for up to date links to transport providers.
Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, Cellphone.
Paroa Hotel, 4 Jay's take-away and dairy
Low level, easy navigation and well maintained gravel trail mean this is runnable in virtually all seasons/conditions
Post run indulgence
130 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth
1) It's literally just across the road from the end of the trail. 2) Class 1 historic building. 3) Reasonable beer and food - certainly not the best, but hits the spot after a run and fairly consistent in terms of quality.
Theatre Royal Hotel, Kumara
81 Seddon Street, Kumara
Ok so it's only at the end of the trail if run in reverse, but a great place so really deserves a mention. Historic coaching inn, lovely ambience, friendly staff, great food, decent range of drinks, open fire in winter
60 Herbert Street, Greymouth
Good atmosphere, good beers, decent food - mostly sharing platter style, also run brewery tours
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