A premium Itinerary on The Great Taste Trail
Day 1 – Start your cycle tour with an easy stretch from central Nelson to Mapua via Rabbit Island. If today is a Saturday, browse the Nelson market for art, jewellery and clothing before you start your bike ride. Along the way to Mapua you’ll find cafes, a brewery and a winery close to the trail for sustenance. There are other possible places to explore including the Nelson Classic Car Museum. Stop by the long sandy beach of Rabbit Island and go for a swim before catching the ferry to Mapua.
When you arrive at Mapua wharf you will instantly see many eateries and shops that make this a popular destination with locals and visitors alike. Mapua has the most number of ‘tastes’ per square metre than any other part of the trail. If you only opt to stay one night here, make sure you arrive in good time to make the most of this little village.
Your accommodation is a short distance from the wharf.
35kms Grade 1*. Mostly flat.
Stay at Mapua
Optional extra day – Make the most of the beautiful village of Mapua and it’s surrounding countryside and stay an extra night. Cycle to and from your accommodation in Mapua and explore the hidden gems of the Moutere. If you want to sample some of the best flavours of the region, then this is a must do. A 35 km circuit offers unique coffee stops, fine food, boutique award-wining wineries (including the most scenic winery in the Nelson region), craft beers (The Moutere Inn, NZ’s oldest pub) and studios of acclaimed artists.
This ride is not on the Great Taste Cycle Trail and uses back roads and local cycle/walk paths.
Stay at Mapua
Day 2 – Cycle from Mapua to Kaiteriteri. This part of the trail has a couple of segments that are is a little bit more challenging than day one. This is one of the most popular and diverse segments of the trail. Explore countryside and coastal sections inaccessible to anyone but cyclists. Take your time, with several craft breweries, great coffee, and food options along the way. Our notes and Great Taste Trail Map will help you find some local gems that you won’t find directly on the trail.
43kms. Grade 2 with two short Grade 3* sections. A mix of flat and short hills.
Stay at Kaiteriteri / Little Kaiteriteri
Optional extra day – Explore Abel Tasman National Park, relax and enjoy a swim off one of the local beaches, or take a break from the saddle with leisurely walks around the local tracks of Kaiteriteri. A 20km round trip following the coastal road (narrow in places but great views along the way) to Marahau is also an option if you don’t want a day off the bike.
Stay at Kaiteriteri
Day 3 – Cycle from Kaiteriteri to Tapawera 74km ( or a select your start point if you want a shorter ride). Take advantage of a vehicle transfer at the start of the day, if you don’t want to cycle the full 74kms or you don’t want to cycle through the Mountain Bike Park as you leave Kaiteriteri. We make it easy for you to enjoy the best parts of todays ride. The scenery is stunning, and quite different to the other days. Follow the majestic Motueka river for most of the way with Kahurangi National Park as the background scenery. Due to the rural nature of this ride, only a couple of coffee stops today! There are also access points to the river for safe swimming or picnic locations.
Today’s ride uses some of the newest sections of The Great Taste Trail that form the trail loop.
Arrive at your accommodation with time to have a leisurely stroll to explore the local area or go for a swim in the river. Dinner is also included at some accommodation so you don’t have to make any plans, it’s all taken care of. If it isn’t included, it’s because there are dining options very close by. We carefully select accommodation so once you have finished cycling, the rest of your day is easy too.
Grade 2& 3*. Grade 3 on a quiet little roads both sealed and gravel following the rivers for more than half of the ride.
(Note that trail grades are set by NZ Cycle Trails and are not the same as mountian bike trail grades)
Stay in the Tapawera area.
Day 4 – Tapawera to Richmond or Nelson. The last day with the longest gentle downhill segment of the trail. A lovely way to finish your tour. Cycle from your accommodation along the cycle trail and through Spooners tunnel (1.4km in length)and enjoy approximately 7kms of gently going downhill from the tunnel exit, before the route flattens out along the valley floor and the Waimea Plain. Stop off along the way at the historical villages of Wakefield and Brightwater. At Richmond you can choose to finish your ride there or you can follow the railway reserve route for part of the return leg to Nelson. You may also want to cycle as far as the airport where you can finish your ride close to the terminal.
We would suggest you finish with a night in Nelson, so you can relax and enjoy everything this small city has to offer. We can recommend some excellent places to indulge in a superb dinner that will showcase the local produce you have seen along the way.
50-60km (mostly flat or downhill!)
Grades 1 & 2* Tapawera to Nelson
* Official NZCT trail grades
The Wheelie Difference
– We are flexible about a start time and location, so your tour can work around your flight arrival time. We are generally flexible about most aspects of your tour. We don’t mind if you have a few extra pieces of luggage and we can store any you don’t need on tour, for free. We aim to use accommodation that is within a short walk to the restaurants, so once you have arrived, you can park up your bike. We aim to make everything as easy as possible.
– We live and cycle in this area so we know all the little back roads and can offer personal recommendations. When you are a Wheelie customer, you will be treated like a local. Wheelie discounts also available at local businesses.
– Kaiteriteri and Little Kaiteriteri are great coastal locations and we use accommodation that is as close to the beachfront and the restaurants as possible.
– If you use the extra day at Kaiteriteri you can use it to relax, go for a local walk or just enjoying the beach front location. If you want to explore Abel Tasman National Park, we can help you choose from the many activities on offer.
– We have sourced accommodation and hosts that help you soak up this rural environment. When the bike ride has finished for the day, enjoy your stay in the quiet countryside.
– We make sure you have the option of choosing the distance you want to cycle, when the segments of trail are a bit longer. We can drive some or all of your group to the start of your ride if you want to shorten the route. If you need to catch an afternoon flight on your last day, we can modify your ride to make that possible.
– Little things can make a big difference, e.g. even though our bikes have gel saddles, we are happy to provide a gel saddle cover, if you forgot to bring your own or if you didn’t quite get round to spending more time on your bike before your holiday and may appreciate some extra padding!
The Reverse Option – No this doesn’t mean you cycle backwards. You can complete the Great Taste Trail loop in the opposite direction. Using a slightly modified version of the 4 to 6 day itinerary, you can follow the trail in a clockwise direction. We take care of the logistics so all you have to do is enjoy riding your bike in this beautiful area, where every day on the trail is different.
Why not try our popular ‘Hub and Spoke’ approach to a Nelson cycle tour?
If you like the idea of a cycle tour where you unpack once and enjoy a ‘home’ base on your multi-day adventure, then this is for you. Mapua Village has become a very popular hub to stay in for the duration of the tour. Customers have enjoyed it so much they have returned for more trips! Each day you can be transferred to the start of your ride and cycle back to your door, or collected at the end of the ride and returned back to Mapua. It also provides lots of options to do day rides (trail, gravel and back roads) from your door.
The Mapua Village is relaxed and welcoming. With lots of good eateries a short stroll from your base, the big decision is where to dine each evening! Your hub could be a self-catered house or apartment, B&B or an all-inclusive luxury lodge.
Have you got more time? Would you like to explore more of Nelson by bike?
We can offer other days of cycling in the quiet countryside or include a day or more in Abel Tasman National Park. Walking, kayaking or boat trips can be arranged to get you off the beaten path.