Biking Tours With Children On The Great Taste Trail

Cycling along a boardwalk on Waimea Estuary | Biking Tours with Children

The level of enthusiasm children have for a biking tour on The Great Taste Trail will be influenced by the same things that influence an adult. Consider how keen they are on cycling when at home, how often they ride a bike and how many hours are they keen (or even just willing) to be out and about each day.

There are a number of ways that a bike tour on The Great Taste Trail can be made more child-friendly and some strategies can be applied to any bike tour.

The Great Taste Trail can be ridden in different ways and although it is a loop, it doesn’t have to be ridden ‘A to B’. With a bit of creative thinking, it can be made to suit most family requirements. Family accommodation on the trail can be found at most key locations and self-catered options are popular with families to give them as much flexibility with meals etc as they need. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes so no-one has to cook and everyone feels like they are on holiday. Ice-cream stops along segments of the trail, helps motivate many a cyclist of any age.

If you want a family holiday with some cycling days within it, that is easy to do. If you base your holiday in one location, then you could ride to or from that location. In order to use the Great Taste Trail, that location needs to be carefully chosen. The village of Mapua is a great location for a base, and although that applies to all ages, it is especially true if you have children. There are several reasons for this, one of which is its coastal location. The estuary and the wharf area offers everything from picnic spots, restaurants, gourmet ice-creams and of course the very popular wharf jumping. Rabbit island is also on the doorstep of Mapua (albeit by a means of a 10-minute ferry ride). The island offers easy cycling and a long, long sandy beach which is a popular location for locals to go swimming. The island also has a little mini mountain bike track which is fun for all ages.

We have provided family-friendly cycle tours for eleven seasons as of 2021/22 and we have found that some segments of the trail are best tackled in smaller bites if the children are under 10 years old. Some segments (one area being the newest section of trail between Woodstock and Tapawera) are best left until the children are a bit older. This is because although not especially hilly, the trail uses a small gravel backroad which is used by local traffic. This part of the trail also has no café stops for approximately 30kms. There are plenty of riverside picnic spots and the landscape is striking. It would be a long slow section for junior riders. It is possible to miss out this section with a vehicle transfer and still complete the rest of the loop.

Another strategy that can be used to keep energy levels and spirits high, is to build rest days, or at least days without cycling, into your itinerary. Again, Mapua village is one such location around the trail that is ideal for this. Other locations that are best for non-cycling days are Motueka or Kaiteriteri. If you stay at Kaiteriteri a fun day on the beach is a simple low-cost option for a leisure day. A great family half-day activity would be a trip along the coast with Waka Abel Tasman. This is a lovely option for people of any age, but it is especially good for families whose kids are too young to kayak. It is a leisurely and informative way to spend a morning and conveniently starts and finishes at Kaiteriteri beach. You could also opt for a boat trip and walks of varying distances in the park. If you stay at Motueka, several operators offering activities in the park will transfer you to Kaiteriteri or Marahau to start your park adventure.

If you would like to include other activities, Cable Bay Adventure Park offers activities such as paint balling, a flying fox, quad biking or nature walks in a wildlife sanctuary, Nelson city offers a good base to explore these activities from. As you can cycle on the trail to the centre of Nelson, it is a good finish point for your cycle tour and a launch pad for your post-tour activities.

The Great Taste Trail is a good trail if you want variety, if you want to be able to have shorter days of cycling and if you would like to add non-cycling activities into your family holiday.

We are happy to create a memorable family holiday. Contact us at and we can make it happen.

Explore the pristine coastline with Waka Abel tasman | Biking Tours with Children
A great way for groups and families to explore the Abel Tasman National Park and learn about Māori culture
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