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Great Taste Trail

Great Taste Trail : an epicurean bike adventure

The Great Taste Trail is one of New Zealand’s 22 “Great Rides”, which allow you to explore New Zealand by bike in one or more days, most often away from motorized vehicles. In 2018, I was fortunate to be invited to hike this trail in its entirety, along with other travel agents. I greatly appreciated all the facets of this trail, both from the point of view of the bicycle aspect as of the landscapes, the atmosphere, the gastronomy, local products and the rich craftsmanship of the region.

The adventure begins at the world-renowned World of Wareable Arts Museum in Nelson, where you can admire the delirious costumes of New Zealand visual artists. The second section of the museum houses a remarkable collection of vintage cars. After being equipped with our bikes, we begin the journey towards Richmond, on a pleasant cycle path crossing Nelson Bay. The trail offers magnificent views of the Waimea Estuary and its many bird species.

We then join a more rural universe made of farmland to Rabbit Island, covered with pine trees. We enjoy scrumptious passages in the forest and along the beach. Today’s stage is Mapua, which is reached by a short ferry ride. The atmosphere of this typical small village is most pleasant and peaceful. There are several souvenir and local craft shops, a micro-brewery where I cannot fail to savor a delicious IPA, as well as excellent dining options.

The next day, after an excellent French toast at the Albertas Café, we leave Mapua to return to the land again. We find a countryside atmosphere alternating between easy ascents and descents. The lunch break is at the famous Jasper Café, adorned with colorful works and sculptures by local artists. Some time later, we stop to admire the works of potter Steve Fullmer.

The trail continues in the hinterland, dotted with orchards and vineyards, against the backdrop of the Kahurangi Mountains and the turquoise waters of Tasman Bay. After a few nice bends and a long exhilarating descent, you reach Motueka, a lively little town surrounded by fruit trees and hop fields. Food lovers will be delighted with quality coffee, micro-breweries and vineyards.

On the outskirts of town, joins Riwaka, where a slice of the homemade pie at the Ginger Dynamite Café is essential. The path then continues between the fields and the coastline, revealing breathtaking views of the Tasman Sea. We finally join our final destination, Kaiteriteri by the Mountain Bike Park, a network of mountain bike trails offering some exhilarating turns and descents.

Kaiteriri is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, where we witness the continuation of our adventures. You can choose from hiking, kayaking, sailing or traditional boat trips to explore this superb marine park.

I loved this experience which combines physical exercise - measured however - in splendid landscapes, with the discovery of a region rich in culture, craftsmanship and gastronomy.

Distance from day 1: 35km
Distance from day 2: 42 km

Does this sound like an experience you would like?