GTT Explorer Overview
Great Taste Explorer is a relaxed circuit with both Standard and Deluxe levels of accommodation. An ideal ride to explore, taste and unwind.
GTT Explorer Itinerary
Day 1 - Cycle Nelson to Wakefield (34km)
Your trip starts mid-morning with a meet & greet at our new depot right on the trail. Our briefing will cover your trail itinerary and your bike, as well as hot tips on places to visit during your trip.
After settling on your bike, our staff will then guide you on the trail to ensure you navigate through Nelson’s trails all the way to Pic’s Peanut Butter World, the start of your taste experience. A tour of the factory follows, and it can be a great place to use for lunch.
The path follows the formed trail to leave the Waimea estuary (until day 5) as you cycle south, passing grapevines along the way. Our next stop is Tasteology in the lovely township of Brightwater. Rest a while to taste the best of the region with platters of the regions best, combined with the occasional wine tasting. Exercising moderation, as there is still 8 km to ride to Wakefield and our accommodation for the first night on the trail.
Day 2 - Cycle Wakefield to Tapawera (34km)
Today’s ride is not long, albeit we pass through history along the regions early train line. A leisurely breakfast and the chance to explore the town of Wakefield before setting off. The dedicated off-road trail weaves through farmland, providing a rural experience as you slowly climb to Belgrove and the final climb to ride the route of the trains long gone through Spooners Tunnel. At 1.35 km in length, this is the longest decommissioned tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere, and a headlamp is a must!! Eventually, the glimmer does appear, and you will emerge into a new forested landscape. From here down to Kohatu Café, the trail descends on wooded trails to finally reach your next coffee fix.
On the short ride to Tapawera, the trail follows the numerous Hop farms the region is famous for. En-route, we stop at the Sculptured Gardens for a fascinating break off bikes.
Eventually, we roll into the rural town and our accommodation for the night.
Day 3 - Cycle Tapawera to Riwaka (63km)
The exciting new trail development is evident today with our longest ride of the trail. Crossing the Motueka river, the ride starts with a gentle ride on quiet rural roads down to the Wangapeka Valley, then turns inland towards Kahurangi National Park.
The hop farms mix with the rural landscapes before we finally start the gradual 2km climb to the top of the spur overlooking the Baton River. The descent is somewhat steeper but quickly emerges into the Baton River catchment, and an exciting new 50m suspension bridge takes us across to the road and its 14kms journey out to Woodstock.
UPDATE: The Baton River Bridge is currently under construction and we have been advised it will open early April 2022. Cycle Journeys clients will now ride up to Baton Saddle, be shuttled back to Tapawera and then by road to Woodstock, rejoining the Great Taste Trail on West Bank Road.
The ride from Woodstock is on West Bank Road with diversions across to Dunbar Estates, an ideal lunch spot. The ride always has the presence of the Motueka River as part of the appeal, and its swimming spots provide a welcome break. As riders get closer to Riwaka, the many orchards, hop gardens and rural surroundings introduce us to the coast. Our destination is the historic and charming Riwaka Hotel and the hospitality of the nearby chalets.
Day 4 - Cycle Riwaka to Mapua (37km)
The 11 km coastal ride into Motueka via a short detour off the trail takes us to our breakfast options while warming up tired muscles. The busy streets of the town provide numerous shopping opportunities. Retracing your tracks returns you to the trail and heading around Motueka port and then into the Lower Moutere Valley.
Roadside orchards abound, and the Riverside Café & Gardens are worthy of a stop-off. The trail gradually rises to the high point view over the Tasman Bay before heading back to the coast and weaving its way to the coastal town of Mapua with its many shops and beautiful accommodation. Enjoy a late lunch on the jetty in one of the local eateries and relax in this idyllic setting.
Day 5 - Cycle Mapua to Nelson (35kms)
The watery gap to Rabbit Island requires the ferry’s use, and with only 35km today, an early coffee fills the time between crossings. Once on Rabbit Island, the trail passes through the exotic forests before crossing to the mainland and heading back around the coast, crossing on yet another of the trails spectacular bridges.
Off the trail, there are numerous attractions for those interested in wine and glass blowing; diversions to visit are available. As the trail approaches Richmond, the landscape changes again before we re-join our tracks and head towards Monaco and the famous Classic Cars Museum.
The route back to our depot requires re-joining the Nelson cycle path and following the signs back into Nelson and our depot for your onward journey.