The ‘Tasman Great Taste Trail’ great ride connects the urban South Island towns of the Nelson/Tasman region, as well of course as the plentiful wineries and vineyards, orchards and berry farms, and the beautiful sandy beaches of this sun drenched region.
Where possible we eat in local wineries, fresh seafood restaurants, and craft breweries. There are optional opportunities to taste both local wines and craft beer along the way. This trip is primarily a cycle tour rather than a gourmet food tour.
The Tasman Great Taste Trail is a cycle trail that consists of a mix of sealed ‘shared pathways’, firm gravel purpose built cycle trails, boardwalks and public sealed roads. Our 150km Pure Trails cycle tour package features 64% cycling on cycle trails and 36% cycling on sealed roads. The riding is rated Grade 1 and there are a few gentle hills that can be skipped if desired.
Our support vehicle is available throughout the tour. Refer to our Level of Difficulty gradings for more information.
Tasman Great Taste Trail Tour Highlights
- Cycle 156km of the Tasman Great Taste Trail
- Indulge in the local fine foods, wines and craft beer
- Explore the local arts, crafts, and cottage industries
- Discover the vibrant city of Nelson
- Cycle along the coast at Rabbit Island
- Enjoy a seaside lunch on Mapua Wharf
- Enjoy a scenic cruise in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park
- Swim in the beautiful waters at Kaiteriteri Beach
Day 1 Christchurch – St Arnaud
Our Tasman Great Taste Trail tour gets underway as we depart Christchurch for the drive north via the Lewis Pass to the Nelson Lakes National Park. After checking into our accommodation at St Arnaud, go for a ride around the village or on a road through the beech forest to get acquainted with your bicycle. Eat at a local restaurant.
* There is the option of starting from Nelson and meeting the group in St Arnaud instead of starting from Christchurch. Shuttle availability and a minimum of 4 people may apply.
Cycle Distance: 14km
Day 2 St Arnaud – Nelson
We drive a short distance to the Golden Downs cycle touring route that takes us into Tasman Bay. Cycle 10km down a valley to the township of Wakefield. In Wakefield enjoy morning tea and a short bush walk before we join the Great Taste Trail, cycling 8km to Brightwater. Stop off and explore the Lord Rutherford Birthplace Memorial. Continue cycling (16kms) on the Great Taste Trail alongside the Waimea River and orchard flats to our lunch stop. Take an optional wine tasting break at a local winery before continuing to our finishing point at our accommodation on the outskirts of Nelson. In the afternoon you have time to explore the Nelson city centre or take an optional visit to the World of Wearable Arts Museum or a local brewery or vineyard.
Cycle Distance: 34km
Day 3 Nelson – Motueka
We continue cycling the Tasman Great Taste Trail great ride. The first section of cycle trail follows the coast around the Waimea Inlet to Rabbit Island with wonderful views out over Tasman Bay (24kms). At the northern tip of the Island we catch the ferry across to the seaside settlement of Mapua. Take some time to browse around the shops and cottage industries and enjoy a fresh seaside cafe lunch. After lunch continue cycling the Great Taste Trail around the coast to Ruby Bay, and then inland through farmland, past the Riverside Community & Cafe, and finally into Motueka (29km). Check into our accommodation for the next two nights. Enjoy an evening at a local craft brewery pub.
Cycle Distance: 53km
Day 4 Motueka
Today’s cycle follows the west bank of the beautiful Motueka River Valley, through forests and orchards and farmland, at a leisurely pace 32km to Riwaka. After lunch and the opportunity to visit a craft brewery, you can continue on the trail 8km to Motueka. This afternoon we do a side trip out to the coast to the beautiful golden sandy beach of Kaiteriteri. Relax on the beach before boarding a boat for an amazing scenic cruise alongside one of the country’s most stunning places – the Abel Tasman National Park (*only available Nov – mid Apr). Enjoy a celebratory final dinner across from the beach before heading back to Motueka.
Cycle Distance: 40km
Day 5 Motueka – Christchurch/Nelson
We head through the Motueka Valley to ride the famous Spooners Tunnel section of the Tasman Great Taste Trail to Belgrave (15km). The 1.4km Spooners Tunnel is NZ’s longest decommissioned rail tunnel and has important heritage value. It is the 5th longest tunnel open to cycling and walking in the world, and the longest in the southern hemisphere. Trains used the Nelson Railway line and Spooners Tunnel until services stopped in 1955. Enjoy morning tea at the historic cafe at the finish before we load up our bikes and drive back to Christchurch via the Lewis Pass, arriving at around 6- 7pm * Alternatively you can finish in Nelson (via shuttle bus). Shuttle bus availability and a minimum of 4 people may apply.
Cycle Distance: 15km
18 Nov 2018
16 Dec 2018
4 Feb 2019
31 Mar 2019
28 Apr 2019
What’s included in the tour package?
- 4 nights twinshare accommodation
- 4 evening meals; 3 lunches; 4 breakfasts (indicated by B/L/D in the itinerary)
- fruit, snacks & morning teas on the trail
- the services of a tour leader who provides vehicle support & information
- cycle repair support
- Scenic cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park
- Rabbit Island ferry transfer
- all transport from/to Christchurch
- Goods & Services Tax of 15%
Not included in the tour package:
- wine; beer; espresso coffees
- lunch on Days 1 & 5
- bike hire ($190) or e-bike hire ($450)
- single accommodation supplement ($315)
- Nelson transfers on Day 1/5, from $50/$40
Tasman Great Taste Trail – Official Partner
PureTrails New Zealand is an Official Partner of the Tasman Great Taste Trail, which is part of Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
Our Guiding Team
Tour Leader (since 2011)
John has a background in human resources and has worked for mining companies in NZ, Australia & Papua New Guinea in the health and safety field, as well as a stint as a commissioned officer in the NZ territorial army. Nowadays John has semi retired to a lifestyle block near Rangiora where he aims to breed highland cattle with his wife Julie. Outside of work John has always been a bit of an adventurer, sportsman and philosopher, enjoying mountain biking, tramping, swimming and playing bagpipes.
Tour Leader/Operations Support (since 2008; Director)
John grew up in the town of Wanganui, where in his school days, he helped build the famed 'Wanganui High School Tramping Club Hut' on Mount Ruapehu. John retired from a career as a Property Valuer and Agricultural consultant where he practised for many years in Western Australia and Tauranga. John has travelled, walked and cycled extensively abroad and now enjoys introducing our visitors to favourite parts of NZ. Other hobbies include cycling, bridge, gardening & horse racing (don't get him started on the latter!)