The Great Taste Trail’s new section – Woodstock-Tapawera

A cyclist on The Great Taste Trail , Baton River bridge

After many years of development, the missing part of The Great Taste Trail was completed in April 2022. The trial now includes a 13km section of a lovely little gravel road going through the Baton Valley. The crystal-clear water of the Baton River can be seen from the route, often getting close enough to tempt you to stop and sit by the river. Enjoy the ‘Back and Beyond’ section of the trail for what it is – tranquil unspolit countryside where the pace of life rolls along at the speed designated to it by the few locals who live there. Imagine if you lived somewhere where few visitors ventured, yet now one of the Great Rides of NZ passes by your door. The locals are welcoming and often keen to stop and chat.
After the 13kms along the route from Woodstock, the trail goes across a field to access the newly installed pedestrian swing bridge. The bridge has been named ‘Lublaw’s Leap’, in recognition to Richard and Fiona Lublaw who allowed the cycle trust to use their land to select a suitable location for the bridge, with the trail now subsequently crossing their land. The Lublaws are now welcoming the cyclists to their piece of paradise and offer bike-packing accommodation in their glamping huts They are farmers and Richard is also a poet with a recently published book called ‘Back and Beyond’. Richard’s family have owned the Baton Run farm since 1906.
After crossing the Baton River, the trail continues to the highest part of the full trail. The Baton Saddle is 238m above sea level. When you approach the saddle from the Baton valley side, there is a steady climb, 2kms long. After the saddle, there is a long gradual sweep down to the Wangapeka Valley, where pasture gives way to hop gardens. The route follows the Wangapeka river and part of it is on a small, sealed road for the last 6kms to Tapawera.
The distance from Woodstock to Tapawera is 31kms. The trail route is new and just like other segments of the trail, the route experience progresses and evolves with more accommodation starting to appear and seasonal honesty stalls emerging at the end of driveways. Local landowners have offered to allow a dedicated cycle path to go through their farm and get closer to the Wangapeka river. The route skirts around Kahurangi National Park which provides stunning views of mountain peaks and valleys. The official name for this segment is ‘Back and Beyond’ which provides a hint of how it feels to ride in this landscape We also call it the ‘Three valleys’ ride as you get to experience the scenery of three different valleys in a relatively short distance – Baton, Wangapeka and Motueka Valleys.
This new segment has enhanced the diversity of the cycle Trail and it is probably best experienced as part of a multi-day tour on The Great Taste Trail,

A gravel road leading to the Back and Beyond section of The Great Taste Trail
Crystal clear water with easy river access makes for a great picnic stop along The Great Taste Trail
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