With its regular sunshine, interesting history and beautiful coastal scenery, Nelson-Tasman is the perfect place for cyclists to hop on their bikes and explore. If you’re keen on experiencing our region on two wheels, Palazzo Motor Lodge has created a list of great biking trails not to be missed.
The Great Taste Trail
A New Zealand Great Ride and one of the most popular trails among our motel guests, The Great Taste Trail combines cycling with eating and drinking – a match made in heaven! The Great Taste Trail starts in Nelson city (either at the airport or i-SITE) and gives you the option of carrying on for up to 4 days, staying in quality motel accommodations along the way before finishing up the coast in Kaiteriteri.
It’s a fairly easy trail which gives ample opportunity to take in coastal and mountain views along the way. Vineyards, orchards and breweries are mapped out and allow for frequent and delicious breaks.
Dun Mountain Trail
Another New Zealand Great Ride, mountain bikers will love this one-day trail which climbs up the impressive Dun Mountain. If you are a history buff as well as a cyclist this is the perfect trail for you as it is set alongside the first railway line to exist in New Zealand. The trail is suitable for fit and experienced mountain bikers and takes between 4 and 6 hours. After reaching the summit, there is a steep 10km single-track trail that is not for the faint of heart, but after this you are rewarded with a final stretch along the Maitai River leading you back into the city.
This is a section of The Great Taste Trail, but it also stands up as a trail in its own right. At 1.4 km long, Spooners Tunnel is New Zealand’s longest former rail tunnel and is the 6th longest tunnel in the world available exclusively to cyclists and walkers! Our Nelson motel staff recommend Spooners to anyone wanting to be a part of history: the Tunnel was decommissioned in 1955 and only opened to the public in April 2016, so you’ll be among the first to ride through!
If you are planning to cycle through this amazing tunnel, be warned that it is dark and cold, so bring a headlight or torch and a warm layer of clothing. To cycle Spooner’s Tunnel, make your way south-west of Nelson to the town of Belgrove, and if you park at the Belgrove Tavern, there will be shuttles from 10am happy to transport you and your bike to the Tunnel.
Explore the City
If you are staying at our motel in the city and interested in a leisurely day exploring Nelson by bike, there are plenty of local bike rental companies that will offer you a bike, a helmet, a lock and heaps of enthusiasm about our beautiful city.
Cycling around the CBD won’t take you very long, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the surrounding suburbs of Richmond, Stoke and Tahunanui. If you can push on a bit further, try to make it all the way to Rabbit Island, where a ferry will take you and your bike to the lovely island which makes for a perfect spot for lunch. There isn’t much in the way of motel accommodation on Rabbit Island, so you’ll want to turn around and head back to Nelson before dark!