New Zealand Cycling and Hiking Adventures

Nelson Great Taste Cycle Trail

Nelson Great Taste Cycle Trail

Trip Highlights

Quiet backroads to ride on&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Tim de Jong</i>
  • Explore the dedicated cycle trails and quiet backroads of the Nelson region
  • Cycle the coastal trail to Mapua and take a bicycle ferry to the Ruby Coast
  • Visit local wineries and sample the produce
  • Enjoy a half day walk on the famous Abel Tasman track
  • Make pancakes and billy tea on a perpetually burning fire hidden in native bush

Trip Summary

Cyclists on the Nelson Trail&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Geoff Gabites</i>

Discover breathtaking landscapes that incorporate both coastal and mountainous vistas while exploring the Great Taste Cycle Trail in the renowned Nelson / Tasman region. This itinerary has all the trademarks of a great introductory cycling journey - inspiring scenery, quiet back country roads, flat cycle trails and long easy downhill runs. The region is well known for its crafts, wine and great food. The best time to visit is autumn, when the weather is settled and the local harvest is in full swing. This tour allows exploration of the coast and hinterland alike, by both bike and foot, as well as time to visit craft galleries, breweries, cottage industries, wineries and a very unusual themed museum. A cycling highlight is the chance to achieve a personal best on a long downhill ride to the Marlborough wineries. There are also options for short, early morning hikes in the Nelson Lakes National Park to listen to the local birds perform their 'dawn chorus' in a protected forest sanctuary.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The Nelson Great Taste Trail is graded introductory, you will mainly be cycling on quiet rural roads & easy dedicated cycle paths. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. Some of the trail is on hard packed gravel - if you can get in some cycling on gravel before your tour it will make the experience a lot more fun.


We will collect you early this morning from your central Christchurch accommodation for a bike fitting and briefing at our depot. Today is mostly a travel day and following our briefing we drive northwards to St Arnaud. The drive takes us through the rolling green hills of north Canterbury and into the Southern Alps. We cross Lewis Pass surrounded by high rugged mountains and follow the Maruia River to the Maruia Falls and then on to Murchison, stopping at some scenic look out points along the way. We then continue on our picturesque drive eastwards to the alpine resort of St Arnaud in the Nelson Lakes National Park. St Arnaud is located on the edge of Lake Rotoiti, with a beautiful mountain backdrop it is a peaceful place to spend our first night. We will have time to visit the lake in the evening and enjoy a walk through the lush native bush. Important: The night before your tour departs your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time they will collect you the following morning. (Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying). If you are not around when your guide calls they will leave a message at reception – it is really important that you check with reception if you have not heard from your guide directly. If for any reason you have not heard from your guide by the morning of the tour please call us in the NZ office on 0800 00 11 66 (from within NZ).

Meals:  D

This morning we drive over Golden Downs to Wakefield and to the start of the first section of our Nelson Great Taste Cycle Trail. We ride to Richmond via Brightwater on easy flat trails, through beautiful vineyards and cross the Waimea River over an impressive suspension bridge. From Richmond we then continue towards the Waimea Inlet and our first views of the sea. Our route follows the coastline until we stop for lunch overlooking the Monaco Peninsula. In the afternoon we cycle to the renowned World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum. Afterwards we will hop back on our bikes and cycle the short distance to Nelson and our waterfront accommodation where we spend the night. Nelson is a small town with lots of interesting art shops, galleries and boutiques, there will be time to have a wander around the centre or along the waterfront before meeting for dinner. Cycle Distance: Wakefield to World of Wearable Arts Museum - approx 24km Wearable Arts Museum to our Nelson Accommodation - approx 7km

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive to Richmond and rejoin the Great Taste Trail. Today's coastal ride takes us to Rabbit Island with options to stop at vineyards & potteries on the way. We take the Flat Bottomed Ferry (a specialized bike transport ferry) to Mapua where we have lunch at one of the excellent waterfront cafes, before continuing our cycle along the Ruby Coast and into Motueka. Cycle Distance: Richmond to Mapua - 18 km Mapua to Motueka - 22 km

Meals:  B,L

This morning we drive to Marahau and the start of the Abel Tasman track. We will rest our cycle legs for a short while on a half day hike into Anchorage on the famous Abel Tasman walkway. The track is well formed and drops into several sheltered bays and beaches. At midday we have lunch overlooking Torrent Bay and then board a catamaran for an exciting sail around the heads and back to our vehicle. To round out a wonderful day, we cycle from the seaside resort of Kaiteriteri to Riwaka River Estate Winery for a late afternoon tasting. We load up the bikes and return to Motueka for overnight. Alternatively, for those who still have some energy, you can cycle from the winery back to our accommodation at Motueka. Walk - 12.5km Sail - 3 hrs Cycle - 9 km (additional 7 km optional)

Meals:  B,L,D

We enjoy two lovely rides today. The first is a very quiet and pretty road along the west bank of the Moutere River, starting from Riwaka and passing through vineyards, kiwifruit orchards and hop farms along the way. This is an on road section of the Great Taste Trail which takes us through to Woodstock. After loading the bikes we drive a busy section of road to Lake Rotoroa where our second ride is a fabulous downhill route beside the Gowan River amidst stunning wilderness scenery. Our hotel for the night is located on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park. For those with energy to burn, there are some lovely easy walks along the lakeside. Cycle Distances: Moutere Valley ride - 38 km Lake Rotoroa ride - 12 km

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we drive alongside the Buller River on the way to Murchison, a small town at the confluence of four rivers and servicing the surrounding farming region. Here we witness a truly unique phenomenon as part of "the Natural Flames Experience". We will 4WD through a deer farm and enjoy a hike through native bush to discover "The Flames", the world's only fire perpetually burning in a forest. Enjoy ‘billy tea’ and pancakes cooked on the flames. Returning to Murchison to our own vehicle we drive over Lewis Pass and back to Christchurch, reminiscing about the variety of experiences we have encountered over the last few days. Arrival time in Christchurch is between 6:00 - 7:00pm. Cycle Distance: optional 20km

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
  • 5 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • 2 professional guides/drivers on trips with 8 or more people
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Crossing on public cycle ferry from Rabbit Island to Mapua
  • Transfer by catamaran in the Abel Tasman NP
  • Wine tasting at two wineries
  • Entry to World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum
  • The Natural Flames Experience
  • Water bottle, water and snacks while cycling
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Bike hire (including helmet)
  • Optional activities (eg. Bewery visit)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Trek Hybrid Bikes available for hire for Rail Trail, Low Step Hybrid Bike (middle), Avanti Discovery Low e-Bike (bottom)

HYBRID BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our Trek hybrid bikes blend the best characteristics of both road and mountain bikes into a comfortable bike ideal for riding on both sealed roads and gravel cycle trails.

The hybrid design allows you to sit upright in a position that provides the best control of the bike with well-placed centre of gravity and in a posture that reduces strain on the rider's neck and back. Also meaning you can take in the amazing scenery you'll see along the way.

We have low rise, also known as step though bike frames, as well as standard frame styles.


ELECTRIC BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our Avanti Discovery low step e-Bike is perfect for cyclists that may require a little assistance on their travels. Pedalling our e-Bikes is easier on knees and joints than riding a traditional bike. They provide up to 80kms of pedal assistance before requiring recharging. Very simple to operate and they provide people with varying levels of cycling experience, health and fitness levels the opportunity to enjoy our cycling holidays.

For bicycle specifications please contact us for more details.



Bikes can be fitted with flat pedals, toes clips or SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet and drink bottle will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:NNT
Prices From:NZD$1895
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Bike Rental:NZD$180 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$480 
Single Supplement 2016/17:NZD$455 
Single Supplement 2017/18:NZD$525 

"Great trip, great food, great company and the scenery was magic” Therese KogelmanNew Zealand

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Since 1992, Adventure South NZ has operated an exciting range of guided cycling, hiking and multi-activity holidays right across New Zealand – and the world - to suit all levels of fitness. We are part of the World Expeditions Travel Group.

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