Nelson Trails Family Cycle

Nelson Trails Family Cycle

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
  • Cycle through Spooners Tunnel, the longest disused rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere
  • Enjoy a half day walk and sailing adventure in the famous Abel Tasman National Park
  • Discover the city of Nelson - known for its sunshine, arts, wine and great food
  • Visit the World of Wearable arts Museum (WOW)
  • Hike through native bush to find the hidden Natural Flames to cook up pancakes and billy tea

Trip Summary

Family photo at Poolburn Tunnel Number 2 on the Otago Rail Trail

Discover breathtaking landscapes that incorporate both coastal and mountainous vistas while exploring the Great Taste Cycle Trail in the Nelson region, this tour is the ideal introduction to cycle touring for all the family. There is plenty of variety including a walk in the Abel Tasman National Park, a catamaran sailing expedition, plus visits to local arts and crafts and the renowned World of Wearable Arts Museum.

The best time to visit is autumn, when the weather is settled and the local harvest is in full swing. This Easter tour is fully supported with your own guides and the support vehicles are never far away for tired legs. The journey begins by exploring the trails around Nelson 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 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.

Note: We can provide transport from Christchurch to Nelson to join the tour.

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 meet at our hotel at 3pm for a bike fitting and briefing. This afternoon is a warm up ride to test our bikes. We cycle the picturesque trail that follows the left bank of the Maitai River from the centre of Nelson up the Maitai Valley. Returning the same way and then along the river trail into the centre of Nelson, we enjoy an early evening meal together and talk about the weeks activities ahead. Cycle Distance: up to 15km

Meals:  D

This morning we drive out of Nelson to Norris Gully where we set off to ride through “Spooners Tunnel”; at 1352m long, it is the oldest disused rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere. A lovely downhill gradient takes us down to the Wai-iti Domain. Here we load up our bikes to avoid a busy section of road and get back on our bikes at Wakefield. We follow a quiet road to Brightwater for lunch and then head out through vineyards and alongside the Wairoa River before crossing over an impressive suspension bridge and finishing our days riding in Richmond. In the afternoon we will visit the renowned World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum. We return to our central city accommodation in Nelson and are free to relax until dinner. Cycle Distance: Spooners Tunnel to Wai-iti Domain - 13km Wakefield to Richmond - 15km

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we drive to Richmond to rejoin the Great Taste Trail. Before starting on our bikes there is the option to take a tour of the Pic's Peanut butter factory, a local Nelson institution! Here we can see how peanut butter is made, and there'll be a chance for the kids to make their own. Today's coastal ride takes us to Rabbit Island with options to stop at vineyards and galleries on the way. We take the small 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 for the adults. 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 - 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 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, build sand castles or a relaxing stroll along the golden sands. From here it is only a short drive back to Motueka. Walking: 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 hop farms along the way. This is an quiet on-road section of the Great Taste Trail which takes us through to Woodstock, where we once again meet the bus and load up the bikes. We drive to Kohatu for lunch and then continue through to St Arnaud and our hotel for the night. St Arnaud is located on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park, set amidst stunning wilderness scenery, mountains and lakes. In the afternoon there are plenty of options for some lovely walks along the lakeside or take a swim in Lake Rotoiti. Cycle Distance: Moutere Valley Ride - 38km

Meals:  B,L,D

Our final day starts with a scenic 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 journey by 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 in one or two bedroom family apartments with ensuite bathrooms
  • Professional qualified driver/guides
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Hybrid mountain bike hire (including helmet)
  • Cycle ferry from Rabbit Island to Mapua
  • Sailing by catamaran in the Abel Tasman National Park
  • 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
  • e-Bike Hire (upgrade fee is payable)
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. winery 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)


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 Surcharge)

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.



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Finishing Point:Christchurch
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:NTF
Prices From:NZD$2395
E- Bike Rental Surcharge:NZD$300