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This is a cruisey way to enjoy some lazy beach time, take a little exercise and enjoy some of Tasman Bay’s most gorgeous seascapes.
To make the cycle hire easy, start and finish from the small village of Mapua, nestled on the banks of the Waimea Estuary. At the historic but revamped Mapua Wharf there are many bike hire companies who can kit you out with cycles, helmets and trail maps. There's also a great collection of boutique cafes offering delicious home made lunches and amazing coffees, local artisan shops and even a boutique brewery - Golden Bear Brewing. The wharf area is a great place to relax in the sun and watch the comings and goings of cyclists and local kids fishing in the tidal estuary entrance.
A ferry service operates on the hour from Mapua Wharf to the drop off beach on Rabbit Island. The ferry crossing for you and your bike takes only a few scenic minutes, then you are on the island and on your way. The cycle trail loops the island, although at times some of the trails which double as forestry roads can be closed to cyclists if there are vehicles operating in the area.
The ferry skipper will advise you of any closed trails. Otherwise, it’s easy to follow the markers through the forest and along the beach trail to the northern side of the island where you’ll find shady picnic areas, a long white sandy beach for safe and very pleasant swimming. What better way to cool off after a few kilometres of cycling? To return to Mapua, simply meet the ferry at the designated beach pick up point.
The Rabbit Island cycle trail is mainly hard packed earth, with the occasional sandy pocket, very family friendly, uncrowded and an absolutely delightful day out.
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