A six day, small group cycling holiday along the Great Taste Trail on New Zealand’s South Island, with a fantastic menu not only of food and wine along the way, but also of landscapes. For starters, you have Nelson on Tasman Bay, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, and also home to great seafood. Main course highlights include the coastal tracks of the national park, cycling along a former railway, with views of the Southern Alps, and taking a ferry across to cycle on Rabbit Island. Staying in 3-4 star hotels, with breakfasts and many dinners included, this an epic-urean cycling holiday.
- Nelson and Tasman Bay
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Spooners Tunnel
- Beer tasting at Hop Federation Brewery
- Seifried Estate Winery
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Day 1: Arrival in Nelson
Transfer from Nelson Airport to your seaside accommodation of Palms Motel. Early arrivals can warm up with a short ride around the city and along the waterfront cycling trail or instead, spend the afternoon wandering around the fishing port. In the evening, you will meet the guide and have a welcome group meal to get to know your fellow cyclists. Keep an eye out for local oysters on the menu, an introduction to the gourmet treats available on this tour.
- Accommodation: Palms Motel or similar
- Meals: Restaurant dinner
Day 2: Nelson – Wakefield | 30km
Cycle along an old rail corridor, now a dedicated cycle path that heads over bridges and winds around the estuary towards Richmond before stopping to visit the Classic Car Museum. From here, the route heads towards Wakefield, pausing for lunch at The Grape Escape Café before heading to Te Mania Winery to sample some of the most famous wines of the area. After lunch, cross the Waimea River via a suspension bridge, offering views towards the Southern Alps, before continuing towards Brightwater and heading to your next accommodation in Wakefield.
- Distance for the day: 30km, ↑160m, ↓105m
- Accommodation: Snowball Manor or similar
- Meals: Breakfast
Day 3: Wakefield – Kaiteriteri | 50km
Begin the morning with a transfer to the top of a steep section before beginning the descent towards Kaiteriteri. The route heads through Spooners Tunnel (1,352m), one of the oldest disused rail tunnels in the southern hemisphere, before heading towards the summit of Pigeon Valley. From here, the route descends through Dovedale Valley towards Woodstock to pause for a picnic lunch and a quick dip in the Motueka River. Continue towards Riwaka, stopping for a beer tasting at the Hop Federation Brewery, before continuing along boardwalks, across bridges and through farmland towards Kaiteriteri. Spend the evening exploring the nearby and famously golden sand beaches and turquoise waters of this region, on the edges of Abel Tasman National Park.
- Distance for the day: 50km, ↑0m, ↓557m
- Accommodation: Kimi Ora Eco Resort or similar
- Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
Day 4: Abel Tasman National Park
Swap bikes for backpacks today as you set off on a a guided hike around Abel Tasman National Park, which includes a picnic lunch made up of local produce. Follow one of the most varied sections of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, from Torrent Bay Estuary to the golden sands of Anchorage Beach. The hiking is graded easy, with the route taking approximately four hours which includes a boat transfer to and from the start and end points, and plenty of opportunities along the way to stop for a break and a cooling swim.
- Walking for the day: 4h
- Accommodation: Kimi Ora Eco Resort or similar
- Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch
Day 5: Kaiteriteri – Māpua | 40km
This morning begins by re-tracing the path back to Riwaka, before cycling around the coastal trail of Motueka. Pause for lunch at TOAD Hall in Motueka (not included), before beginning a steady ascent over Tasman View Road, offering panoramic views of Tasman Bay. From here, the route heads towards Tasman, before entering Māpua, a seaside town home to many galleries, studios, restaurants, shops, wine and craft beer bars. Sit down to a last group dinner at one of the town’s top restaurants, before spending the evening exploring the town.
- Distance for the day: 40km, ↑204m, ↓234m
- Accommodation: Korepo Lodge or similar
- Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Day 6: Māpua – Nelson and departure | 32km
Begin the day by boarding the Mapua Ferry for a short trip across the channel to Rabbit Island. Today’s route follows a trail across the island, cycling along the main beach, before returning to the mainland. From here, the route heads towards Richmond, crossing Waimea Swing Bridge, before stopping at Seifried Estate Winery for a wine tasting. The route then continues along the coastal boardwalks of Waimea Estuary, pausing for lunch at The Honest Lawyer, before heading back towards Nelson for farewells and onward transfers.
- Distance for the day: 32km, ↑94m, ↓98m
- Meals: Breakfast
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of 3-star and 4-star hotels. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included on all days, and dinner on most days except days two and four. Lunches are also included on days three and four. Where no lunch or dinner is included, lunches and snacks can be bought from local shops and dinner is available from restaurants in the local area.
Difficulty and terrain
This trip is graded easy-moderate and includes daily cycling distances of 30-50km. The route follows a combination of paved trails, quiet country roads and gravel tracks, with the majority of cycling being on flat terrain, with a few steeper sections (read more about difficulty grades).
When to go
This trip is available from February-March on select dates.
Supplements apply for tours that run over any New Zealand public holidays and long weekends. Groups are limited to a maximum of ten participants.
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Our recommended airport for this holiday is Nelson (NSN).
By train or bus
By bus: There is a bus service from Christchurch to Nelson with a change in Blenheim (8h). For information and tickets, visit Intercity or use the Omio planner above.
By ferry: There are return ferry services between Wellington and Picton (3-4h) and bus services between Picton and Nelson (2h 15mins). For ferry times and tickets, visit Interislander and for bus times and tickets, visit Intercity or use the Omio planner above.
- 5 nights accommodation in private en-suite rooms
- 5 breakfasts
- 3 dinners
- 2 picnic lunches
- Wine tastings
- Guide and on-call support wagon
- Boat transfers to and from Abel Tasman National Park
- Park entry and fully guided walk at Abel Tasman National Park
- Pick up and drop off transfers (airport, ferry or bus terminal on start and end dates of tour)
- Mapua ferry ticket
- Lightweight cycling t-shirt
- Water bottle
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and dinners not mentioned as included
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable locally)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights
- Bike rental
Both hybrid and e-bikes are available to rent on this tour. Both models are equipped with a lock, pump, toolkit and panniers. Helmets are not automatically provided, as sizing and fit is quite personal, however, helmets are available to rent upon request. Sample pictures attached below, note that the exact models may differ depending on availability, but the standard will be the same.
Avanti Discovery 3