Everything you need to know about Tasman's Great Taste Trail

Cycling along the Nelson Great Taste Trail | Dean McKenzie
Cycling along the Nelson Great Taste Trail | Dean McKenzie

The proximity of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail to breweries, wineries and cafés provides a feast of cycling opportunities for visitors to the Nelson Tasman Region. So much more than just a cycle trail, this is a gastro adventurers heaven.

Winding through picturesque countryside and along the enviable Tasman Bay coastline, this relaxed trail is the perfect way to tour the region’s attractions. From art galleries to boutique stores, craft breweries, cafés, orchards, and sophisticated winery restaurants.

The Great Taste Trail comprises of a network of cycleways. Mostly graded easy, they link the region’s visitor centres of Nelson, Richmond, Wakefield, Motueka and Kaiteriteri. The full circuit is 159km, but the trail lends itself to leisurely rides with time for sightseeing and activities.

Along the trail

Nelson is famous for its seafood, horticulture, fruit and hop growing and wine production, and is ideal for wining and dining. Its vibrant arts and crafts scene can be enjoyed at the many studios of sculptors, painters, glass blowers, fashion designers and jewellery makers. Richmond has an abundance of vineyards, most within a 20km radius.

The area is also home to potters, glass blowers, and woodturners. Nearby Wakefield is a small pretty town with architecture dating back to the 1840s. Famous for its aromatic smoked seafood, Mapua is an essential stop for foodies. The refurbished wharf and waterfront is home to shops, galleries, cafés, and fine-dining restaurants with superb views and a relaxed atmosphere.

Beautifully secluded with golden sandy beaches, Kaiteriteri is a seemingly tropical and stunning holiday spot. Spend the day swimming, kayaking or boating and work up an appetite before a delicious meal at any one of the waterfront restaurants.

Cycling alongside the many vineyards along the Nelson Great Taste Trail |  <i>Rossco Daubney</i>

About the trail

Starting in Nelson the trail follows boardwalks along the edge of the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of bird species, before crossing to Rabbit Island and the short boat ride across to Mapua. The trail also visits Motueka and its wineries, Kaiteriteri (gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park), and the Motueka River before heading to Wakefield.

From Wakefield a 26km return side trip can be taken to historic Spooners Tunnel. New Zealand’s longest decommissioned rail tunnel, 5th longest open to cycling and walking in the world, and longest in the southern hemisphere. Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park is a purpose-built 180ha off-road park.

Maintained by enthusiastic volunteers, it has trails for all skill levels and is a mecca for locals and visitors. The Abel Tasman National Park has stunning azure waters fringed by native forest and white sand beaches. It offers a mix of relaxation and adventure with kayaking, sailing, skydiving or hiking.

Boarding the Mapua Ferry after a stunning ride on Rabbit Island |  <i>Chris Cameron</i>

Discover Tasman's Great Trail with Adventure South NZ

You can discover the breathtaking landscapes that combine coastal and mountain vistas while exploring the Great Taste Trail with us. Our itinerary offers a great introductory cycling journey. Inspiring scenery, quiet back country roads, flat cycle trails and long easy downhill runs.

Starting and ending in Christchurch this 6-day tour allows exploration of the coast and hinterland by bike and on foot. There’s also ample time to visit the craft galleries, breweries, cottage industries, wineries, and many other attractions.  

Trip grading and fitness required

To determine the grade of an adventure we consider the condition of the terrain, altitude, number of pass crossings, and length of the trip. This Trail is graded introductory, mainly cycling on quiet rural roads and easy dedicated cycle paths, and walking on well-formed trails. You will need a reasonable level of fitness.

We suggest 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise, three times a week for 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 trail is on hard packed gravel. We recommend practicing biking on gravel before your tour to make the experience more fun.

Food platter at Clyde Village Vineyard |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

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