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Freewheeling the Fruit Loops

Lee and Sarah nearly bite off more than they can chew cycling Nelson’s Great Taste Trail.

Chocolate Dog Photography, Tasman View
Bennett & Slater Produce Stall

One of the great delights of campervanning around New Zealand is the roadside produce stall. From springtime asparagus and summer cherries, to free range eggs and bags of new spuds, they dish up fresh, seasonal flavours for the price of pennies dropped into an honesty box.

There are plenty of local specialities – Ohakune has its carrot, Te Puke the kiwifruit – but some places can turn their hoe to almost anything. One such region is Nelson–Tasman, home to the aptly named Great Taste Trail.

One of 22 New Zealand Cycle Trails, it joins the dots between Nelson and Motueka, looping widely through picturesque countryside and along the Tasman Bay coastline, passing small villages along the way. No other New Zealand Cycle Trail is so generously sprinkled with food, wine, craft beer and art. Few are also this easy: it’s mostly wide and flat, with a couple of heartier climbs for eager riders.

Chocolate Dog Photography, Tasman View
Chocolate Dog Photography, Tasman View

For Britz Bikes travellers enjoying the convenience of ‘park and ride’, the trail is readily accessible all over the region. Nelson – the region’s capital – makes a convenient base boasting several pleasant holiday parks and plenty of good day-trip options. One is to start from Stoke, south of the city centre, and head out to the wineries around Brightwater, or to Rabbit Island where you can catch a ferry to Mapua for fish & chips. Cycle shuttle operators offer drop-offs and pick-ups to make things easy.

For a bigger bite of the apple, head to Motueka. This richly fertile area is one of New Zealand’s fullest fruit bowls, laden with orchards, berry farms and hop gardens. Britz travellers are always warmly welcomed at Motueka Top 10, a leafy holiday park just five minutes’ cycle ride from the Great Taste Trail. This cycle-friendly crew offer maps and advice for choosing a route to best suit you, as well as bike shuttles throughout the region.

Leave your Britz campervan at the holiday park, and head out for the day. Motueka town can be explored on a short, easy loop taking in the buzzy high street and waterfront section of the Great Taste Trail. To venture further afield, keep on the signposted route heading north towards Riwaka, which starts out on quiet back roads. We left the Top 10 just before lunch on a toasty, late summer day, and had barely worked up a glow before we were stopped in our tracks by a bountiful fruit stall. After scoffing some blueberries and stowing raspberry jam, we pedalled on past a wheelbarrow of tangelos and ploughed on.

Crossing the bridge over the scenic Motueka River and passing fields strung with hop vines and espaliered apple trees, we soon reached the wee village of Riwaka where we refreshed ourselves with a tasting at the Hop Federation brewery. This was followed by a pop-in to the cute Ginger Dynamite café for espresso and a homemade steak ‘n’ ale pie. Full to bursting, we resisted the real fruit ice cream on sale nearby, which was pretty much the hardest thing we did all day.

They don’t call this the Great Taste Trail for nothing. Onward from Riwaka we freewheeled along quiet country lanes lined with yet more produce stalls, beckoning with sweet-smelling tomatoes and bundled baby beets – inspiration for dinner, and a healthy option at that. So, into the backpack they go!

The trail trundles straight through fruit orchards before hitting the road to Kaiteriteri – holiday hotspot and gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. One of the most picturesque sections of trail lies ahead, so able riders should not pass up the chance to continue on to Kaiteriteri via a dedicated coastal cycleway and the sweeping tracks of Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. The gentle hill-climb is well worth the spectacular views. Less enthusiastic companions can hop in the campervan and pick riders and bikes up at the end.

Chocolate Dog Photography, Tasman View
Bennett & Slater Moutere Inn

Another fine section of the Great Taste Trail wends its way south of Motueka, towards the Moutere Valley. Part of this route traces a gentle arc across Tasman View Road offering the grandest lookout of all. Around the nearby village of Upper Moutere you’ll find a bunch of interesting wineries and the historic Moutere Inn, a great place to meet the locals and sample the region’s craft beer. If you bite off more than you can chew, call the Top 10 crew for rescue!

Hire a bike with your campervan for your travels with Britz Bikes
Explore the Great Taste Trail
Ride more of the NZ Cycle Trail
Discover the Nelson–Tasman region
Stay at Motueka Top 10 Holiday Park

Suggested additional links:
Hop Federation brewery
Abel Tasman (DOC)
Kaiteriteri Mountabike Park
Moutere Artisan

Posted by:
Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater - @BennettnSlater on Twitter
Posted on:
Britz, Travel, nelson, great taste trail, campervan, camper, ohakune, te puke, motueka, cycle, cycling, cycle trail, tasman bay, bikes, britz bikes, Kaiteriteri
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