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 Collectable 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. Your accommodation is a short distance from here.
35kms Grade 1*. Mostly flat.
Stay at Mapua
Optional extra day – Make the most of the beautiful village of Mapua 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 –Your second day cycle from Mapua to Kaiteriteri 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 – Most of this ride is on a quiet road alongside the river. Cycle from Kaiteriteri to Stanley Brook in the Motueka Valley. 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.
There is also the option to ride some extra kms and explore the Stanley Brook area on gravel roads nearby, or just arrive at the tranquil retreat and have a leisurely soak in the hot tub or go for a swim in the river. Dinner is also included so you don’t have to make any plans, it’s all taken care of.
45kms. Grade 2& 3*. Grade 3 on a quiet little road following the river for approximately 33kms, which is also quite flat.
Stay at Stanley Brook, Motueka Valley
Day 4 – Take a vehicle transfer to the start of the ride with your choice of start points, Tapawera, Kohatu or Spooners Tunnel. Cycle to Nelson city centre (or finish at Nelson airport if you want to catch a flight on the same day as your last bike ride). Cycle through Spooners tunnel then stop off along the way at the historical villages of Wakefield and Brightwater. At Richmond you can follow the railway reserve route for part of the return leg to Nelson. There are plenty of things to do in Nelson, so relax and enjoy everything the area has to offer.
53-70km (mostly flat or downhill!)
Grade 3* Tapawera to Kohatu (trail and road)
Grades 1 & 2* Kohatu 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 to cycle, we have first hand experience of cycling here and can offer advice on your choice of route. We can do the same if you are trying to decide what Abel Tasman National Park experience to enjoy.
– 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 your last day is easy. We will drive you to the start of your route, which we can modify, if it helps you catch an afternoon flight.
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 cycle?
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.