A few weeks ago, Spooners Tunnel become the newest section of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail to be unveiled. Dug by hand in 1893 to connect Nelson to the West Coast, the underground route only got as far as Gowanbridge before the Government of the time pulled the pin and the tunnel was boarded up.
60 years later and the 1.35km tunnel is finally open for business. It might be a little dark and cold (take a torch) but the route is straight, and if you cycle south to north, the gentle downward slope will allow you to freewheel the entire distance.
Tunnels are a fascinating feature of many of New Zealand’s cycle trails. Here are a few other famous underground routes you might like to experience. (And if you’re looking to get the kids interested in riding, try selling them on some spooky tunnel fun.)
The Karangahake Rail Tunnel on the Hauraki Rail Trail
Carved out of solid rock and one million bricks, the 1.1km Karangahake Rail Tunnel is just one of many exciting features found in the Karangahake Gorge, voted one of the “fourteen wonders of New Zealand.” You’ll find the Gorge in the section of the trail that runs from from Paeroa to Waikino Station.
The Rimutaka Cycle Trail
Lots and lots of railway tunnels to ride through on the Maymorn to Cross Creek section.
The Otago Rail Trail
Expect plenty of long, dark tunnels, as well as trestle and stone bridges, abandoned gold diggings and remains of mining machinery and preserved gold-mining settlements.
Like to ride any of these trails? We offer self-guided and guided tours of the Otago Rail Trail, and a five-day guided Wellington to Greytown tour, which includes the Rimutaka Trail. We can also help you organise bike hire and transport for the Hauraki Rail Trail and Great Taste Trail. Drop us a line if you’d like to get the ball rolling.