We get asked by our customers and locals, what is our favourite part of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail? There are many parts of the trail that we like for different reasons and our favourite part might also change depending on the season. But if you asked the question this week, our reply would be the West Bank River Road. Here are a few reasons why.
Firstly, it was a beautiful spring day. Not much wind and just the right amount of heat from the sun for cycling in short sleeves. Secondly, there was hardly any traffic, in fact for the 15 km we rode on the West Bank 3 vehicles passed us.
If you start the ride at Woodstock, you get your first glimpse of the river as you cross at Baton Bridge. As you are cycling towards Motueka you will find that you have a slightly downward gradient along the road. The river meanders its way towards the sea and the West Bank road also weaves its way following the river’s path.
After about 2 km of easy riding we were rewarded with the beautiful sight of some well-established Jacaranda trees with their stunning blossom in full bloom. We continued riding with the river on our right-hand side and being overlooked on the left-hand side by the majestic mountains of Kahurangi national park.
Our ride then took us to a part of the road that has got natural bush on both sides and you cycle through a tunnel formed by beech trees and other native plants. It probably looks just how it was when the first European settlers arrived in this region around 1870s. The road continues to Pokororo (A few houses). Here there is Pokororo Hall, where every January they hold a well-attended Arts and Craft fair. There is also a swing bridge here that goes across the river and leads to the East Bank road. You will find that as you follow the West Bank road there are plenty of places that give you access to the river. Lovely places to stop, have a picnic or even a swim in the summer.
The route is surrounded by productive farm land. There are berry fields and hop gardens, as well fields with livestock such as deer and llamas/alpacas. Depending on the season you may well come across honesty stalls selling products of the local area.
If you are up for a slight detour off The Great Taste Trail, you can take Peninsular Rd and cross the Motueka river by riding over Peninsular Bridge. Once on the East Bank Rd turn right and you will find yourself in Ngatimoti village. Just like Pokororo they have an annual fair (and is also just a collection of houses, a hall and a school). Ngatimoti hold their fair in October. This year it is on Labour weekend on Sunday the 21st. All long the road you will find bucket head people pointing you in the direction of the fair. If you cycle just approx. 1 km further than Ngatimoti you will find Dunbar Estates Vineyard and Café. A lovely place to sample wine, have something to eat and relax awhile.
When you ride the West Bank Rd as part of the Great Taste Trail we are certain that you will enjoy the scenery and peacefulness of this valley road as much as we do.
The Wheelie team know this area well. They go exploring on their days off and the put together lots of routes on and off the Great Taste Trail