Now we know Nelson’s Great Taste Trail treats its riders to some tasty morsels, its winding trails leading to the discovery of unique and remote vineyards, restaurants, craft breweries and orchards allowing its riders to immerse themselves the culinary delights of the Nelson Tasman region. But did you know that the Great Taste Trail also showcases the best of the region’s landmarks, activities, attractions and artistic flair!
Along the trail you will encounter a wide range of sights, sounds and memorable experiences including various art studios and boutique galleries, some wonderful wildlife, and landmarks such as Spooners Tunnel and Rabbit Island – all wrapped up in some stunning landscapes that range from beautiful ocean vistas and the rolling green hills of NZ farmland to some of the country’s most beautiful forest clad hills in the Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks.
Want to find out more about all the great activities and attractions on the Nelson Tasman Great Taste Trail? Here are the top 12 things to do while you’re out enjoying the ride:
1. Kaiteriteri Beach
The golden sands of Kaiteriteri Beach are a draw that few can resist while out on the Great Taste Trail. Just an extra 20 minutes ride north from Riwaka, Kaiteriteri offers a range of accommodations if you are looking for somewhere to stay for the night, try your hand at water skiing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding and there are plenty of options for eating out, plus – the beautiful beach of course! Don’t forget your swimming togs for this one!
2. JointWorks Studio
JointWorks Studio is located on Aporo Road, around 25 minutes (by bike) up the coast from Mapua. This family-run boutique studio produces a great selection of handwoven items along with some meticulously crafted handmade wooden furniture. Products include scarves, wraps, and tea towels, plus wooden furniture such as small tables, decorative boxes, platters, turned bowls and plates etc. JointWorks Studio is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.
3. Abel Tasman National Park
Access to the beautiful adventure playground of the Abel Tasman National Park is well worth the added effort of a short detour from the official top of the Great Taste Trail at Riwaka. Roughly an hours ride or 20 minutes’ drive from Riwaka you will find the entrance to the Abel Tasman walkway, grab a ride on a water taxi and explore the golden sandy beaches, wonderful wildlife and beautiful bays or if you’d prefer to give the arms a bit of a work out hire a kayak and enjoy exploring the cool calm waters the area is famous for. The Able Tasman National Park is an ideal opportunity to enjoy a day off the bike trails to explore the area on foot or by water.
4. Mapua Wharf
The much-loved Mapua Wharf is a great place to stop for ice-cream on a warm summer’s day or enjoy a meal and coffee at one of the resident cafes. There are galleries, boutique stores showcasing local artisans and quality goods and a never ending supply of boats to watch pass by. The wharf also offers a top swimming spot for a quick dip when the tide is right and the perfect spot for some fish and chips while you relax on the water’s edge. Or check out the Maritime Museum on the wharf for a touch of history along the way!
5. Royce McGlashen Gallery
The inspiring gallery of Royce McGlashen showcases a range of unique tableware, ceramic art pieces and paintings. One of NZ’s leading potters Royce has won many awards for his work and his passion for pottery is obvious as soon as you walk in the door. The Royce McGlashen Gallery is open 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. You will find the gallery on Ellis Street at Brightwater, approximately an hours bike ride from Nelson central.
6. Pic’s Peanut Butter World
While this post isn’t about food out on the trail, we have snuck this one in as it is a destination in its own right. Representing some of New Zealand’s local produce, Pic’s Peanut Butter is much loved by New Zealanders for its all-natural, great-tasting spread. Stop by the factory for a free tour and learn how this delicious peanut butter is made – you’ll even get to taste test some of their latest creations. Pic’s is located between Nelson and Richmond and is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4pm with tours operating Monday to Friday 10am, 11:30am and 1:30pm – book ahead to avoid disappointment.
7. Hoglund Art Glass Studio & Gallery
Watch in awe at the precision and skill that goes into the glass-blowing process at the Hoglund Art Glass Studio & Gallery on Lansdowne Road in Appleby, roughly halfway between Richmond and Rabbit Island. This epic glass-blowing studio and showroom is full of stunning art glass pieces, including vases, ornaments, paperweights, bowls, jewellery and perfume bottles all created by Ola and her husband Oliver Hoglund along with son Ossian and his wife Annabel Hoglund. The Hoglund Art Glass Studio is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
8. Nelson Classic Car Museum
If cars are your thing then be sure to make a point of stopping by the Nelson Classic Car Museum (NCCM) on your way in or out of Nelson. Expect to see more than 150 classic cars in immaculate condition, with everything from Renaults, Vauxhalls, Triumphs and Cadillacs through to Jaguars and Ferraris. There is also an onsite Museum Store for mementoes and a cute little café. The Car museum is open from 10am to 4pm and you will find the entrance on Cadillac Way, off Quarantine Road, near the Nelson Airport.
9. Hidden Sculpture Garden And Gallery
Located on the Motueka Valley Highway, the Hidden Sculpture Garden marks the end (or beginning) of the Rural Tasman leg of the Great Taste Trail making it a great place for a pitt stop. Wander around the grounds of the Hidden Sculpture Garden and enjoy the sculptures from a selection of local artists nestled amongst a variety of native and exotic trees – why not bring a picnic lunch and savor the peace and quiet. When you’re done, check out the onsite galleries with a selection of artwork from around NZ. Entry costs $5 per person and children under 12 are free.
10. Great Taste Trail Ship Wreck
Having stocked up on supplies at the Motueka Township, head out to the foreshore to rejoin the trail and see the weathered ruins of the Janie Seddon shipwreck. The Janie Seddon was a military ship in its day and in fact, was the last surviving ship to have served in both world wars. The Janie Seddon these days is just a rusting hull after sinking at her moorings many years ago, but it makes for a great photo op and is well worth a look.,
11. Rabbit Island Beach
One of the most popular spots for holidaymakers and beachgoers, Rabbit Island is a veritable playground for both active relaxers and those who… well… prefer to relax! The beach itself is a stunningly beautiful spot with expansive white sands and calm waters that make for excellent swimming for the whole family. Park up your bike and enjoy a picnic or go for a swim in the water or wander the trails and explore the tree-clad island on foot. Rabbit Island offers that world away from anywhere feel as it is relatively uncrowded due to the island being uninhabited and undeveloped.
12. Willow Bank Heritage Village
Located just south of Wakefield, the Willow Bank Heritage Village offers visitors a light-hearted peek into the activities of the early 1900s settlers in the region. Get dressed up, grab a shake from the 1970s Milk Bar and wander through the Secret Garden – you never know what you’ll find in this fun and interactive attraction. Check their website for opening times and the latest events, entry is by modest fee and donations are most appreciated.
If you’d prefer to leave all the planning up to the experts, have a think about joining a cycle tour of the Great Taste Trail. The Gentle Cycling Company offer single day and multiday guided tours along with bike hire, shuttle services, trail maps, itinerary planning, accommodation bookings and more! Get in touch today to find out more about their Nelson Tasman Great Taste Trail cycle tours.