Nelson Bike Hike and Sail

Nelson Bike Hike and Sail

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Tasman Great Taste Cycle Trail's stunning coastline and inland rides
  • Experience the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sounds with a scenic bush walk
  • 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
  • Sail through the Abel Tasman National Park on a Catamaran
  • 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

Explore the best of Marlborough and Tasman at the top of the South Island on the ultimate bike, walk and sailing holiday. Walk through pristine native forest on the Queen Charlotte track, cycle along Nelson’s Great Taste Trail and sail a catamaran in the famous Abel Tasman National Park. Relax and enjoy the many local galleries, craft breweries, boutique stores, wineries and the renowned World of Wearable Arts that these regions are known for.

The journey begins by visiting the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds before heading towards the golden sandy beaches of the Abel Tasman. Riding along flat or gently rolling terrain, through vineyards and along coastal tracks, we arrive at the stunning Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park surrounded by high mountain peaks. Our final day returns us to Christchurch over the scenic Lewis Pass after the unique Natural Flames experience. This is a fun and active adventure which will be enjoyed by adults and children alike and is suited to beginner cyclists.

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, and walking on well formed trails. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30-60 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. You will need to be able to walk for 3-4 hours at a time on undulating paths. Some of the cycle trail is on hard packed gravel - we recommend practise biking on gravel before your tour to make the experience a lot more fun.


We will collect you early this morning from a central Christchurch location around 7:30am and head away on our drive north to Kaikoura (2.5 - 3 hours). This scenic journey crosses the Canterbury Plains, winds over the Hunderlee Hills and then follows the beautiful coastline to arrive in time for lunch. We will enjoy a walk along the dramatic 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 drive along the coast road (around 1.5 hours) to Blenheim. Here we will unload the bikes, try them out and enjoy our first cycle ride amongst the Marlborough vineyards. Marlborough is world renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc wine, and we take the time for some wine tasting at a few of the local vineyards along the way. Then a final van transfer takes us to Picton, a peaceful little port town, and our stop for the night. Picton is nestled in the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound surrounded by hills, in the evening there will be time to wander along the waterfront to watch the ferries come and go. Cycle Distance: Blenheim towards Renwick - approx 27km

Meals:  D

This morning we take a water taxi to the nearby Queen Charlotte track, a spectacular ridge top walk above the Marlborough Sound. We get dropped off at Te Mahia Saddle and spend the morning weaving through lush native bush with glimpses into the many bays and coves below. Arriving at the little village of Anakiwa at the end of the track, we enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. After lunch we continue to Nelson - the “sunshine capital” of the South Island of New Zealand, where we visit the renowned World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum enroute. Arriving to Nelson and our central city accommodation we have some time to explore the town before regrouping for dinner. Hiking Distance: 12km, approx 3-4 hours walking

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we drive to Richmond to rejoin the Great Taste Trail. Before starting on your bike there is the option to take a tour of the Pic's Peanut butter factory, a local Nelson institution! Today's coastal ride takes us to Rabbit Island passing vineyards and galleries on the way. We take a short ferry journey 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 we 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, we can cycle from the winery back to our accommodation at Motueka. Cycle Distance: Richmond to Mapua - 18km Mapua to Motueka - 22km Motueka to Riwaka Winery - Optional 8km each way

Meals:  B,L

This morning we drive to Marahau and the start of the famous Abel Tasman track. We will rest our cycle legs by taking a half day hike into Anchorage on the Abel Tasman walkway. The track is well formed and drops into several beautiful sheltered bays and golden sand 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. Walking Distance: 12.5km Sailing: 3 hours

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 hops 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 to drive a busy section of road to Kohatu for lunch, we continue on the Great Taste Trail through the Norris Gully, to the historic Spooners Tunnel. At 1.4km, it is New Zealand's longest decommissioned rail tunnel. A lovely downhill gradient takes us down to the Wai-iti Domain where we once again meet the bus and load up the bikes. We transfer by van 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 afternoon there are plenty of options for some lovely walks along the lakeside or take a swim in Lake Rotoiti. Cycle Distances: Moutere Valley Ride - 38km Norris Gully to Wai-iti Domain - 13km

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 6-7:00pm.

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 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
  • 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 or Merida e-Bikes are 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.


This was a fabulous trip in every way. Great value, wonderful scenery and several different activities on offer each day. Our knowledgeable guide Rob was not at all fazed by closures to our proposed route due to extreme fire danger and he was kind enough to answer my many questions about the ecology and economy of the region. Everything was first class. Well done Adventure South.

Alison K, Brisbane, Australia, 01 Mar 2019

We found our guide, Rob, to be awesome. He was knowledgeable, interesting and prepared to go the extra mile for us. He had to change parts of the itinerary due to the recent fires and subsequent closures of some biking trails and always found interesting alternatives.

Irene A, Whitianga, New Zealand, 01 Mar 2019

Excellent variety of activities included on this trip in stunning scenery

Barbara J, Auckland NZ, 04 Feb 2019

Fabulous rides, walks, boats, guides, bikes, sights, wine & food! Relaxed & yummy picnics at the end of good long walks. The WOW exhibition. Our guides & the other guests were fun & easy going, like us! Perfect weather completed the package! Book it immediately!

Robin H, Byron Bay, 22 Jan 2019

Fiona and Will were our hosts for the trip. Fiona is the experienced one and Will was the new guy on the block. Fiona is a wealth of info about NZ and its history. Will was learning as we went along and I think it was his first trip, but I didn't know that right away. He jumped right in and seemed like an experienced trip leader from the start. I would personally like to thank both of them for the whole experience! One thing I like about the trip is the diversity of activities. I'm a cyclist, so I wanted to do this for that reason and the wine tastings intrigued me also. The tracks and boat rides mixed in made this go from a good experience to a great experience. I will recommend this to all of my friends...well done and thought out! The idea of doing other things besides riding is great. I'm talking about the hiking on the tracks and on our own, the boat ride and wine tasting also. During these activities, people talked to us about NZ history or other things they thought would be interesting for us to know about the country and its history. One thing does need attention, coming from a guys who builds and maintains his own bikes, are your bikes or at least the bike I had. My chain was bone lubricate and the shifters where very hard to actuate. I think the cables and casing need replacing to reduce the friction.

Dave T, USA, 07 Dec 2018

Fiona and Will were engaging and professional guides. Accomodation and food was excellent. Mix of activities was good. Other travellers were all fun to be with. Ride through dark tunnel - company should have provided individual headlamps, as not everyone brought one with them - especially novice cyclists. Enjoyed everything! Cycling was great; loved the two hiking walks; spectacular sail on catamaran. Be aware this is a mixed activity trip - not cycling everyday. Enjoy the company of the other people and the beautiful surrounds. It was a terrific introduction to this type of travelling tour for us.

Anita M, Melbourne, Australia, 30 Nov 2018

Good trip with a little of everything - trail riding, hiking, wine tasting, sailing, aided by great guides and spectacular weather! :)

Nikki C, Auckland, NZ, 21 Nov 2018

We chose this trip as I had already completed Alps to Ocean with Adventure South and we had a great trip then. We like to cycle and we like to be active and drink wine - no brainer! Highlight - walking the Charlotte track, Abel Tasman Park, Cycling on all days. Food great at all places. Picton was a beautiful spot. The only thing I could be critical of is that we didn't get to spend any time in the locations due to the waiting we needed to do for other members of the group. It would have been nice to see a little more of Nelson and Picton. Having so much planned each day allows little time to enjoy the places you visit.

Jodie M, Australia, 24 Nov 2018

Loved the trip. Rachel overcame road closures to deliver a great experience. Accommodation and meals great. Bikes good through ladies needed a water bottle holder on the bike frame as well as the bike bag.

Debbie K, Australia, 09 Mar 2018

Very well organised. Top tour guides. Excellent route. Very good food.

Monika F, Austria, 09 Mar 2018

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
Finishing Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:NNT
Prices From:NZD$2395
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
New Year's Supplement:NZD$100 
New Year's Supplement:NZD$100 
Bike Rental:NZD$180 
E-Bike Rental:NZD$480 
Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departure:NZD$525