The Great Taste Trail - "The Loop"
This four day cycle adventure takes you along the completed stages of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail and now includes the unique Spooners Tunnel section. Opened on the 17th April 2016, it is the oldest disused rail tunnel in New Zealand and at 1352 metres long it is the longest in the southern hemisphere. This section must be experienced!
Starting in Nelson, the Rail Route takes you to Wakefield via Stoke, Richmond and Brightwater. Stops along the way include the World of Wearable Art Museum, award winning wineries and craft breweries to name a few.
The following day, you will experience the Spooners Tunnel and enjoy the picturesque ride down to the Wai-iti Domain, before heading over the Pigeon Valley summit, after which you will wind your way down the Valley Route on Motueka’s West Bank, enroute to Kaiteriteri. We highly recommend you stay another day or two once you reach Kaiteriteri and experience the world famous Abel Tasman National Park. Add some walking, kayaking or an afternoon cruise. Tip - We think this is the eighth wonder of the world!
Your third day of cycling on the scenic Coastal Route through Riwaka, Motueka, Lower Moutere and Tasman has you arriving in Mapua where the magical atmosphere must be experienced. This section of the Great Taste Trail is well known for the wonderful cafes along the way.
On Day four, you make the short but memorable crossing to Rabbit Island on the Mapua Ferry, cycle along Rabbit Island, through farmland, and experience some amazing scenery on coastal boardwalks before arriving at your final destination.
Day 1 - Nelson to Wakefield - Distance: 32kms
Arrive at Nelson Airport where Trail Journeys will meet you 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.
Day 2 - Wakefield – Spooners Tunnel to Kaiteriteri - Distance: 50kms - Meals: Breakfast
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!!
Day 3 - Kaiteriteri to Mapua - Distance: 40kms - Meals: Breakfast
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.
Day 4 - Mapua to Airport or Nelson City - Distance: 22 – 32km - Meals: Breakfast
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.
- Cycle equipment which includes trail comfort bike, helmet, repair kit, panniers, odometer and trail documentation
- Luggage transfers between accommodations (1 bag per person – limit 15kgs per bag)
- Packed lunch, including bottled water (day 2)
- Entry to World Of Wearable Art Museum
- All transport
- Mapua Ferry crossing
- All ensuite accommodation based on twin/double share with breakfast included
- Luggage storage for excess luggage available if returning to Nelson after cycling
12 months of the year
Optional Add On’s:
- Enjoy this tour and take the effort out of the hills on our high end Scott or Avanti E-Bikes (electric)!! (extra $200 per person)
- One day Abel Tasman Cruise & Walk (we recommend you choose one of the fantastic ‘Discoverer Day’ options) with Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles (Adult $76, Child $38)
- Break your Cycling up with this very popular kayak tour, with Abel Tasman Kayaks. The ‘Two Day Classic’ has everything you require to experience the amazing Abel Tasman National Park
Accommodation (all accommodation is ensuite/private bathroom based on twin/double share, based on availability)
- Day 1 – Wakefield
- Day 2 – Kaiteriteri
- Day 3 – Mapua
Price: Due to seasonal variations and accommodation availability please contact us for up to date pricing.