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 Tasman Great Taste Trail's stunning coastline and inland rides
  • Enjoy a half day walk on the famous Abel Tasman track
  • Take a bicycle ferry from the beautiful town of Mapua to the Ruby Coast
  • Test your tastebuds at local wineries, breweries and orchards
  • Discover the city of Nelson - known for its sunshine, arts, wine and great food
  • Visit the World of Wearable arts Museum (WOW)
  • Sail through the Abel Tasman National Park on a Catamaran
  • 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. 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. Following our briefing we drive north to the township of Waikari, where we enjoy a short warm up ride on peaceful back roads in the Canterbury plains, before continuing to Kaikoura (approx. 2.5 - 3hrs). The drive is scenic and we time our arrival for lunch and a walk along the Kaikoura peninsula, spotting a few seals along the way with a bit of luck. This provides a good opportunity to stretch our legs before a further scenic drive (approx. 1.5 hrs) to Blenheim where we overnight. Blenheim is the service centre for the surrounding vineyards, orchards and agricultural region, with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Cycle Distance: Waikari to Greta Valley - approx. 24km

Meals:  D

This morning we cycle amongst the Marlborough vineyards, an area known for its world renowned Sauvignon Blanc wine, and take the time for some wine tasting at a few of the local vineyards, before driving to Havelock, famous for its green lipped mussels, for lunch. After lunch we continue to Nelson - the “sunshine capital” of the South Island of New Zealand, where we will get back on our bikes and start our cycle from Wakefield along the Great Taste Trail, followed by a visit to the renowned World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum and an optional visit to a brewery en route if time permits. We load up the bikes and drive to Nelson to our central city accommodation. Cycle Distance: Blenheim to Renwick - approx. 27km Wakefield to World of Wearable Arts Museum - 23 km

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 & galleries 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. From here you have the option to cycle another 8km to Riwaka River Estate Winery for a late afternoon tasting. We then load up the bikes and return to Motueka for overnight. For those who still have some energy, you can cycle from the winery back to our accommodation at Motueka. Cycle Distance: Richmond to Mapua - 18 km Mapua to Motueka - 22 km Motueka to Riwaka Winery - Optional 8 km each way

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 take some time to enjoy Kaiteriteri beach, with the chance for a late afternoon swim or a relaxing stroll along the golden sands. From here it is only a short drive back to Motueka. Walk - 12.5km Sail - 3 hrs

Meals:  B,L,D

Our ride today is on 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 Kohatu for lunch, before continuing through to St Arnaud and our hotel for the night, which is located on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park, set amidst stunning wilderness scenery. In the late afternoon there are plenty of options for those with energy to burn to enjoy some lovely walks along the lakeside. Cycle Distances: Moutere Valley ride - 38 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.

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 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)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. Bewery visit)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Bikes used for Adventure South Cycleways tours, Avanti Discovery MTB (top), low step version (middle) and e-Bike (bottom)

MOUNTAIN BIKE (Additional Charge)

Our new fleet of Avanti Discovery hybrid mountain bikes combines the best characteristics of a hybrid bike and a mountain bike to give you a great ride and comfort on gravel cycle trails. This bike has a more upright riding style meaning you can still take in the amazing scenery you'll encounter along the way.

These bikes have 29" wheels, suspension forks and suspension seat posts to iron out the bumps and hydraulic disc brakes give responsive braking.

They are also available in a low rise, also known as a step though bike frame, please specify on your booking form.


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 MTB SPD pedals. A bicycle helmet will be included with your bike rental, along with a 15L saddle bag for personal items you might need in the day.


Great experience and was a good variation to other bike tours. Enjoyed the tour and guides were excellent. If you like cycling with support choose one of the Adventure South NZ tours.

Eric M, Willoughby, Australia

A good tour, lots of variety. Our guides were excellent. Good variety of things to see and do off the bike. Be fairly bike fit as riding on a lot of gravel terrain.

Helen M, Australia, 01 Dec 2017

We have done the Otago Rail Trail with another company. This one was different to that. - Fiona made it! Loved the places we went to - As we were a group of friends and it was just us it made it even better! Weather was not great due to cyclone but Fiona changed days for our walk and sail which was perfect. She went out of her way to make our trip very memorable. NZ you are beautiful, we will be back.

Michele and Noel Turner, Australia

The great nelson food trail lived up to its reputation - beautiful food and magnificent scenery. We were lucky enough to have Fiona as our guide - having met her last time we cycled with adventure south. She and Carina looked after our every need - even sourcing a birthday cake for my husband on our last night. They were both full of so much information and great advice. We'll definitely be back!

Tony, Australia

Ours was a lovely active and relaxing holiday. Far from the endurance test it could have been. Great job guys. Other trips have tended to be quite regimented. Yours was flexible, tailored to our abilities and to our collective choices of options. But mike/speaker is needed in the bus.

Richard Scales, New Zealand

The fact that although a cycle trip, we also swam, walked and sailed. Both guides were exceptional in expertise, knowledge and consideration for all the group members. Nothing was too much trouble to accomplish and were always happy, smiling and encouraging.

Guides were wonderful. Tim and Rachel have been kind, hardworking, interesting and knowledgeable. They have a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, incredibly encouraging and just lovely people.

Janette Kelly, Australia

Great trip, great food, great company and the scenery was magic.

Therese Kogelman, New Zealand

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:NNT
Prices From:NZD$2195
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
New Year's Supplement:NZD$100 
Bike Rental:NZD$180 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$480 
Single Supplement:NZD$525