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For an easy day ride close to Nelson city, the Rail Route passes through the flat countryside of the Waimea Plains. Here, you will discover the densest area of vineyards on the whole of the trail. Berries are also grown here, with the berry season running from early December through to early March. Many berry gardens provide pick your own berries and also serve real fruit ice creams. Watching the frozen fruit or berries get mixed through the ice cream and dropped in a soft creamy swirl into a cone is a memorable experience, even before you taste it!
Apple orchards are also prevalent in the region, with the picking season starting in early March through to mid April. If doing a multi day ride, cyclists will have opportunities to pass through the heart of the apple country, located around Motueka on the Coastal Route. Apple country is particularly lively at this time of year, as travellers from around the world take up seasonal work as apple pickers. For those with less time, a day ride on the Waimea Plains is also an opportunity to cycle past apple orchards.
Early March is also hop harvest time. Nelson is the only place in NZ where hops are grown and cycling here at harvest time can smell very attractive. To experience cycling in the Nelson hop country, we recommend spending a day cycling in the area of Upper Moutere, which is an on-road detour from Mapua.
For more information about cycling on the Great Taste Trail visit our website www.gentlecycling.co.nz