Meandering through the picturesque Nelson and Tasman region, the Great Taste Trail serves up relaxed riding, stunning coastal views and a seemingly limitless supply of cafes, breweries and vineyards.
This northern tip of the South Island enjoys more sunshine than any other part of New Zealand, meaning hop gardens, orchards and berry farms flourish. You’ll find plenty of roadside fruit and veg stalls dotted along your route – leave room in your backpack or panniers to take home a few treats.
Mainly flat riding makes this trail a great option for families or newbie cyclists (although not so great for working off the excess calories!) Ride the whole 174km loop… or break it into bite-sized chunks. Here are a few options:
Ride round the Waimea Estuary to Rabbit Island, a popular beach and picnic spot. From there, you can catch a ferry to Mapua (check ferry times here) and explore the shops and galleries at Mapua Wharf.
Head out along quiet back roads to Riwawa, where refuelling options include the Ginger Dynamite café and Hop Federation brewery. If you’ve overdone the eating part, opt to push on to the pretty beach at Kaiteriteri. This route will take you through the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park – there’s a hill involved – but the coastal views and golden sands at the end are more than worth it.
Or, head south from Motueka to the little town of Tasman. There are several vineyards just off the trail – check winenelson.co.nz for an interactive map. Push on a little further along the Ruby Coast and you’ll find the 2013 New Zealand Café of the Year. Jester House is home to fabulous baking, a rambling, organic garden and tame eels!
Sample it all
Alternatively, strap on your panniers and complete the whole circuit. The trail is 174km in total – at a relaxing pace you should be able to complete it in three or four days. Accommodation is as plentiful as the food options – you’ll find a good selection on the trail website.
Image: Brad Fults