Tasman’s Great Taste Trail is part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail Network, and will eventually cover a distance of 162 – 175 kilometres around the Nelson region offering easy, family friendly touring through a variety of landscapes. The first sections of trail are complete and run largely off road between the Village of Tapawera south of Nelson in a rural area near Kahurangi National Park, and Kaiteriteri near the Abel Tasman National Park.
This delightful ride on a well built trail travels through rural and forestry landscapes, a heritage train tunnel, and the village of Wakefield. It also crosses the Waimea Plains, dotted with vineyards, apple orchards and market gardens, before reaching the Tasman Bay coastline near Richmond. It then follows the coastline around the Waimea Estuary to Rabbit Island, a reserve with recreation areas and pine forest, to the old Mapua wharf and its boutique shops, cafes and brewery.
The final leg across to the wharf and Mapua village from the island is across the estuary by a foot and bike ferry. Clients can stop for a swim on the expansive Rabbit Island beach. The Great Taste Trail has some special tasting experiences, including wineries, craft breweries, little cafes, fresh seafood, fruit and pick-your-own berries during the summer months.
Simply Wild Journeys have been offering guided mountain biking and cycling trips in Nelson since 2006, and the trail is a natural addition to our trips. We offer a range of options for clients who wish to enjoy the easy riding on the trail. We know the trail intimately and after discussion with you will pick the sections most suited to your interests and fitness for the day.
You can cycle all day or just a few hours, or as part of a day exploring Nelson’s attractions like WOW, art, breweries and vineyards. On a day trip we’ll often ride from the beginning of the Spooners Tunnel, about 45 minutes south of Nelson. The 1.4km long rail tunnel is the longest decommissioned tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. The railway line was closed in 1955, against major protests at the time.
From the tunnel exit, a pleasant 5km descent brings you to Belgrove and the historic railway windmill, one of only two left in New Zealand. From Belgrove the trail follows a path next to the road until Quail Valley Road, then off road along the banks of the Wai-iti River, past Ewings free-range poultry farm, and through native bush to the Wai-iti Domain. From here the trail follows State Highway 6 for approximately 1.5 km before turning off at Hoult Valley Road.
After 400m, you veer right before the Hoult Valley Road Bridge and follow the purpose-built trail along the river for 4 km to Pigeon Valley Road and the Village of Wakefield. At Wakefield we pack the bikes on our trailer and drive 20 minutes to Rabbit Island. Here we rejoin the trail to cycle along the coastline of this forest and on to the ferry taking riders and bikes across to the coastal village of Mapua.
Mapua wharf is a great spot for lunch with a number of Cafes and restaurants. Alternatively we can provide a platter lunch at nearby Neudorf Vineyard. If you are keen to ride further, we travel across to Riwaka for the short coastal ride through to Kaiteriteri, one of the two main access points for Abel Tasman National Park.
We can provide both special trail style bikes (more upright and comfortable), e bikes or traditional mountain bikes.
Simply Wild Great Taste Trail trips are private trips. There are two categories of trip:
Fully guided (You will have a friendly & experienced guide all the way. We supply transport to and from the ride, ferry fares, bikes, helmets, and a delightful platter lunch).
Self guided and supported (We take you to the beginning of the ride, provide ferry fares, bikes, helmets, and a delightful platter lunch at Neudorf Vineyard. We also supply a cellphone for you to call us at the end of your ride to collect you, and a map of the ride and nearby attractions).
Pickup up from and back to your Lodge or other accommodation
Bikes and helmets
A delightful platter lunch from our café enjoyed at Neudorf Vineyard (Unless you’d rather enjoy the cafes at Mapua)
Ferry fares – Rabbit Island to Mapua
Cellphone for supported, self guided riding