Nelson Great Taste Self Guided Cycle Trail

Nelson Great Taste Self Guided Cycle Trail

Trip Highlights

  • Self guided ride of the Tasman Great Taste Trail's stunning coastline and inland regions
  • Visit local wineries, breweries, orchards and even the World of Wearable Art Museum
  • Extend your time to enjoy the wonders of Kaiteriteri near the Abel Tasman National Park

Trip Summary

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

Explore the completed stages of Tasman's Great Taste Trail which includes the newly opened Spooners Tunnel, the oldest disused rail tunnel in New Zealand. At 1352 metres long it is the longest in the southern hemisphere. The Nelson region is well known for its crafts, wine and great food and cycling is the best way to connect them all. Starting in Nelson, the Rail Route takes you to Wakefield via Stoke, Richmond and Brightwater stopping at the World of Wearable Art Museum, award winning wineries and craft breweries along the way. It's then on to Spooners Tunnel, a picturesque ride down to the Wai-iti Domain, the Pigeon Valley summit, and to Motueka's West Bank, enroute to Kaiteriteri. The Scenic Coastal Route through Riwaka, Motueka, Lower Moutere and Tasman is well known for the wonderful cafes along the way, which you can stop at as you please on a self guided cycle. The ride concludes with a short but memorable crossing to Rabbit Island on the Mapua Ferry and a ride along Rabbit Island through beautiful farmland to experience some amazing scenery and a coastal boardwalk.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain etc. 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.


This morning we will pick you up and transport you to our base in Nelson City. We will fit you to your bikes and supply all the information required to enjoy a fantastic cycling adventure you will remember forever. You may wish to arrive the day before and explore Nelson City and enjoy the range of fabulous dining options available. Your first morning of cycling follows the Great Taste Trail signs taking you south to the outskirts of the City. Here you will enter the old rail corridor, a sealed cycle path that takes you over bridges, under the motorway, before winding your way around the estuary towards Richmond. Take a break and explore the interesting ‘World of Wearable Art’ (WOW) museum. (Entry is Included in your package). A little further up the trail, enjoy the atmosphere of the Honest Lawyer, a Country style pub, for lunch or a beverage. Near Richmond you will cross the main road and very quickly head out amongst the vineyards, orchards and farmland, enroute to Wakefield. Choose to enjoy a winery or explore the Grape Escape Cafe. Continuing south you will cross the Waimea River via a swing bridge and carry on to Brightwater, and then on to the quaint village of Wakefield, 7 km’s away. The Brightwater to Wakefield stretch has quiet on road sections with minimal traffic, and winds through farmland and a small native forest, into Wakefield where your accommodation awaits.

Meals:  Nil

8:00am Pick-up: You are in for a nice treat this morning as you head south and ride through one of the main attractions on the Great Taste Trail. The Spooners Tunnel, at 1352 metres long, is the oldest disused rail tunnel in the southern hemisphere. The tunnel is pitch black and is a constant ten degrees so take a jumper. After exiting the tunnel a lovely downhill gradient takes you down to the Wai-iti Domain, before heading over the Pigeon Valley summit, down the Dovedale Valley to Woodstock. (At this point you may choose to do more or less cycling as we can drop you anywhere down the Dovedale Valley or West bank). After crossing the Baton Bridge to Motueka’s West Bank it’s time to “get back in the saddles” again. This quiet country road passes through farmland, native forests and small settlements while generally following the river. There are no eateries along this section so Trail Journeys will provide you with a packed lunch and snacks. If it’s a nice day then a swim in a Motueka river makes for a great stop. After 30.4 kms you will arrive at Umukuro Road where you carry straight onto Anderson Road, turning right on Factory Road, before re-joining the Great Taste Trail in Riwaka. From this point Kaiteriteri is 10 kms away. Tip: If you enjoy your craft beer, then a tasting at The Hop Federation is just 380m off the trail in Riwaka. The ride into Kaiteriteri takes in boardwalks, bridges, farmlands and orchards before entering the ‘Easy Rider’ trail of the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. This 4km section through the mountain bike park takes in stunning native forest. A reasonable level of fitness is required to bike this section and caution must be taken by inexperienced riders as there are tight turns, drop offs and switchbacks. Once you enter Kaiteriteri, you can explore the famous golden sands and atmosphere of Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. We highly recommend you add one or two days to experience walking, kayaking or a cruise through the Park. This is truly spectacular and peaceful!

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast it’s time to climb on your bikes again, bound for Mapua. After exiting the mountain bike park, you will enjoy a leisurely ride with many scenic attractions along the way. Re-trace your steps back to Riwaka, and make your way around the coastal trail of Motueka, enjoying the variety of bird species and scenery. A recommended coffee/meal stop is ‘Toad Hall’ at the (southern) end of Motueka. On leaving Motueka you will pass through the Riverside Community, (great café here called Riverside Café) then head up over Tasman View Road. (This section is grade 2-3 and is a steady climb). However, the spectacular views of Tasman Bay make it all worth it! Onward to the quaint village of Tasman, and then past New Zealand’s number 1 café, ‘Jester House’. This is also a recommended coffee/café stop. Enjoy the lovely gardens & feed the ‘Tame Eels’. You are now just 8kms from Mapua, where you will stay tonight. Here you can enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of galleries, studios, restaurants, cafes, shops, wine bar, and craft beer.

Meals:  B

Relax on the Mapua Wharf before boarding the iconic Mapua Ferry for the short trip across the channel to Rabbit Island. This is a relatively short day bound for your final destination. The trail takes you along the main beach of Rabbit Island where long white sandy beaches and the peaceful surroundings are very calming. Upon leaving the island and heading towards Richmond, you will cross the spectacular Waimea Swing Bridge, before taking in the views from the coastal boardwalks of the Waimea Estuary and fertile farmland, (home to a range of internationally significant bird species including the white heron). Make your way back to our Nelson Depot to drop your bikes and collect your bags.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 1 lunch (day 2), 3 breakfasts
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • 3 nights ensuite accommodation based on twin/double share
  • Cycle equipment which includes trail comfort bike (e-bike upgrade available at extra cost), helmet, repair kit, panniers, odometer and trail documentation
  • Luggage transfers between accommodations (1 bag per person - limit 15kgs per bag)
  • Mapua Ferry crossing
  • Entry to World Of Wearable Art Museum
  • Luggage storage for excess luggage available if returning to Nelson after cycling

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own bike drink bottle)
  • Optional activities (eg. Brewery visit)
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

Trail Journeys (who operate this trip), in conjunction with Avanti NZ, have developed bikes specifically for New Zealand’s leisure cycle trails. Our bikes are custom built for the trails and for maximum comfort so you can relax knowing you have the best bike possible for your trip.

- Puncture resistant tyres: A revelation for our customers over the years. These tyres enable you to ride knowing the chances of getting a puncture are extremely low; we get less than 20 per season with thousands of bikes hired.

- Standard and Low Step frames: A low Step frames make it easier to mount and dismount the bike as you can step through the middle.

Within this design we have also created extra brake reliability and safety as water and dust cannot penetrate the cables causing sticking.

The standard frames are for those who like a more traditional looking bike and are comfortable swinging their leg over the back of the bike to mount or dismount.

- Our seats are an ergonomic shape to better fit the human anatomy. They are elastomer based to absorb more shock and they are wide and padded for your comfort.

- 27.5 inch wheels and a wider tyres to improve handling and reduce rolling resistance. This means you get more distance for each pedal stroke.

- Ergonomically designed handlebar grips for extra comfort you didn’t expect.

- Super reliable Shimano componentry - All the vital mechanical componentry, brakes, gear levers, derailleurs, chains and sprockets are made by arguably the world’s most popular and reliable brand, Shimano.

- We have retained the V Brake (Calliper brakes) configuration for extended wear, reliability and safety.

- All bikes come equipped with a strong lightweight rear carrier so you can take a few things in one of our carrier bags or a set of panniers (Saddle bags).

- Front suspension is fitted to all our bikes to compliment the comfort and safety aspects while riding the trail.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:4 Days
Starting Point:Nelson
Finishing Point:Nelson
Activities:Self Guided Cycling
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:NNS
Prices From:NZD$1165



This trip is operated by our sister company Trail Journeys. Enquire Here if you would like to get a quote on this self-guided tour along Tasman's Great Taste Trail.

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