Family-Sized Portions Of Fun To Be Found On The Great Taste Trail

Dishing up family fun on the Great Taste TrailOver the recent school holidays, Steve and I took the kids to Tasman, at the top of the South Island, to sample the many delights of the Great Taste Trail.

One of New Zealand’s Great Rides, the full trail offers 174 kilometres of riding. Since our children are only 7, 10 and 11, we opted to sample two, shorter segments.

First up was the Richmond to Mapua Ferry section, which winds its way alongside the scenic Waimea Inlet to the popular beach and recreation reserve on Rabbit Island. From here, you can jump aboard a ferry to the vibrant Mapua Wharf and village.

The other section we rode was from Norris Gully to Wai-iti Domain, through Spooners Tunnel. The kids loved the tunnel! It’s not lit, so take torches or bike lights. At 1.4 kilometres long, it’s New Zealand’s longest decommissioned rail tunnel, and the sixth longest tunnel open to cycling or walking in the world! Definitely worth a visit.

The riding on both these sections is easy and mostly off-road, making them a great option for families or less confident riders. The boys rode a Specialized Fatboy and Avanti Tracker, while Anahera tested out an Avanti Black Thunder. Steve and I were riding our usual bikes: a Specialized Camber 29 and an Avanti Torrent 650b. Mountain bikes or hybrids are equally suitable for this trail.

Given its name, food options are plentiful along the route. You’ll find the curious combination of homemade baking and tame eels at Jester House, and excellent hot chips at The Smokehouse in Mapua.

Tasman’s mild climate makes the Great Taste Trail a viable cycling option all year round. With multiple access points and loop options, it lends itself to leisurely day-rides, with plenty of time to soak up the sights and tastes along the way. Just bear in mind that during winter (30 April to 28 September 2018) the Mapua Ferry only operates on weekends, and during school and public holidays. You’ll find the full timetable on their website.

And if you’d like any additional information about riding this route, or you’d like to organise bike hire, send us an email.

Have a good week,

P.S. Other trails well suited to autumn and winter riding include the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, at the top of the North Island, and the Great Lake Trail around Taupo. See more details here.