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Please note: This Great Ride is still under construction, see below for information on the sections of trail that are open and ready to ride and a timeline for completion. The detailed maps, click on the link.
Starting at Nelson Airport or Nelson i-SITE, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail offers panoramic coastal views over Tasman Bay, Waimea Estuary, and the Western Ranges, including Mt Arthur, Mt Owen and the Crusader. Riders pass over boardwalks along the edge of the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of internationally significant bird species including the white heron.
From here the trail crosses to Rabbit Island, where riders can take a ferry trip to Mapua Wharf and enjoy boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. The route continues north-west from Mapua to Motueka, which hosts award winning wineries, then on to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Work on this section is scheduled for completion by June 2014.
The southern section of trail from Riwaka continues to Woodstock on quiet winding country roads along the Motueka River’s west bank, in a landscape of sheltered valleys surrounded by forest and mountains. For the enthusiast there is a back road loop from Woodstock to Wakefield climbing over Dovedale Hill at 326m.
A 56km ride along an abandoned railway corridor past historic tobacco drying kilns from Kohatu Junction to Wakefield is due for completion in 2015/16. Riders will need to bring a torch, as the Kohatu-Wakefield route will pass through Spooners Tunnel, New Zealand’s longest decommissioned rail tunnel, a gentle curve of about 1.4km emerging just south of Belgrove.
An off-road trail from Wakefield to Brightwater and back to Richmond and Nelson was completed in 2013, and takes the rider through vineyards and farmland, to round off what will be a 175km loop.
Tasman’s Great Taste Trail is a joint initiative involving the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust, Tasman District Council and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.
Riding the trail:
There are a number of sections to Tasman's Great Taste Trail. The sections from Nelson to Mapua and Nelson to Wakefield were completed in 2013, and consist of easy off-road trails. The section from Mapua to Kaiteriteri will be predominantly off-road and is due for completion by June 2014. Riwaka to Woodstock and on to Wakefield is currently on public roads and can be ridden now but requires good road sense. Off-road trail from Tapawera to Wakefield is scheduled for 2016/17.
Nelson to Wakefield 31 km, 3–4 hours, Grade Easy
Wakefield to Woodstock 31 km, 2–3 hours, Grade Intermediate
Woodstock to Motueka 38 km, 2–3 hours, Grade Intermediate
Side trip to Kaiteriteri 14 km each way, 2 hours, Grade Intermediate
Motueka to Mapua 22 km, 1.5–2.5 hours, Grade Intermediate
Mapua to Nelson 33 km, 3–4 hours, Grade Easy
From Mapua, catch the ferry to Rabbit Island and vice versa
● The trail passes beside the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of internationally significant bird species including the white heron.
● At Tapawera, cyclists will ride along an abandoned railway corridor through the Spooner rail tunnel, New Zealand’s longest decommissioned rail tunnel and past historic tobacco drying kilns (due for completion 2016/17).
● The route takes in Mapua, where riders can enjoy cottage industry shops, cafes and restaurants, and Motueka, with award winning wineries along the way.
● From Mapua, riders catch the ferry across to Rabbit Island.
● From Nelson to Brightwater and Wakefield, the route passes through farm land and vineyards, past cafes and restaurants.