38 - 175km
Easiest - Intermediate
Enjoy a leisurely cycle trail tour along a sparkling coast and through picturesque countryside dotted with local art galleries, vineyards and restaurants.
Looping through the Tasman region’s charming countryside and along its enviable coastline, postcard-perfect views are only part of the story. This leisurely trail network is a terrific way to tour the region’s attractions, ranging from art galleries and boutiques, to fruit stalls, fish & chip shops, craft breweries and wineries.
Tasman’s Great Taste Trail is a network of cycleways threaded inland and along the coast, linking Nelson, Wakefield, Richmond, Motueka and Kaiteriteri. The full circuit is 174km, but this trail lends itself to tailored day-rides allowing plenty of time for enjoying the sights. Multiple access points and loop options, bike hire depots and shuttle services make it easy, as do luggage transfers for those wishing to spread out their overnight stops.
The Richmond to Mapua leg makes a great one-day ride. Winding initially along the bird-filled Waimea Inlet, it reaches the fragrant pine forest and sandy beaches of Rabbit Island where it’s possible to catch a ferry across to Mapua for art, ice cream, beer, fish and chips and more.
Another enjoyable day trip starts from Motueka, heading along pretty country lanes, past fruit stalls and through orchards, to the entrance of Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. Averagely fit riders (including children) will enjoy the wide, smooth tracks leading over the hill to Kaiteriteri, one of Tasman Bay’s most stunning beaches.
Some inland sections of the Great Taste Trail follow temporary routes or are under construction, but it is still possible to complete the full loop riding on mostly quiet back-roads. Check the trail’s website for the latest developments.
View trail map here.
Most of the trail is grade 1–2 (easiest to easy), being flat, smooth and suitable for riders of all abilities. It mainly follows gravel or sealed cycleways, quiet lanes and orchard roads with little traffic. There are, however, some busy intersections and riders need to take care when crossing roads. Hybrid bikes are suitable.
The trail can easily be divided into return rides and loops, with shuttle services readily available for drop-offs and pick-ups. It’s well signposted and never far from a town or village, but riders should still carry a map, spare tubes and a cellphone.
The region is blessed with balmy summers and blue-sky winters, making for great riding at any time of year although riders should always check the forecast and take appropriate clothing for the conditions.
Advice, bike hire, shuttle services, luggage transfers and tours are offered by numerous local companies including Trail Journeys,The Gentle Cycling Company, Nelson Cycle Hire & Tours and Wheelie Fantastic Cycle Tours. Note that the ferry between Rabbit Island and Mapua runs intermittently, so riders should check the timetable (opens in new window)in advance.
Tasman’s Great Taste Trail(opens in new window) - the official trail website
New Zealand Cycle Trail - Tasman's Great Taste Trail(opens in new window)
The official tourism website for Nelson Tasman(opens in new window)