Nelson is lucky to have a range of urban cycling and walking opportunities with some of the best off road facilities in the country.
Investment in over 20 kilometers of off road shared pathways around the city ensures that cycling and walking have a strong future as sustainable and environmentally friendly transport modes.
Find out about Nelson’s cycle trails at the Nelson City Council
The Great Taste Trail
Tasman’s Great Taste Trail starts from Nelson Airport or Nelson i-SITE and offers panoramic coastal views over Tasman Bay, Waimea Estuary and the Western Ranges.
Riders pass over boardwalks along the edge of the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of internationally significant bird species, including the white heron and royal spoonbill.
From here the trail crosses to Rabbit Island, where riders can take the Mapua Ferry to Mapua Wharf and enjoy cottage industry shops, cafés and restaurants.
From Mapua the route leads via Tasman and Harley Rd to Motueka, which hosts award-winning wineries, then on to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.
The Motueka Valley section of the trail from Riwaka goes to Woodstock on country roads along the Motueka River’s west bank. The picturesque landscape is one of rivers and rolling hills with a gorgeous backdrop of forest and mountains.
From Woodstock, a Grade 3 route heads over Dovedale hill to Wakefield on a hilly country road. This route is temporary and will be replaced with a flatter route via Tapawera and Kohatu Junction.
From Wakefield, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail returns to Nelson on purpose-built cycle paths and lanes, taking riders past vineyards and cafés, with various accommodation options.
The full loop is currently 165km.
What is so good about riding a bike off road in the Nelson region?
Having over 1000m of elevation to play with on our doorstep is a great starting point. From high alpine environments, to lush native forests and rooty forestry blocks the luxury of choice has resulted in a wide variety of trails in and around Nelson, each with a unique flavour.
Within a 10km radius of Nelson City you’ll find over 30 trails ranging from grade 2 to grade 5. Multiple DH tracks, flow tracks, root infested technical challenges, family friendly loops and classic back country epics. Dun Mountain, 629, Peaking Ridge, Maitai Face, Sharlands, Involution, Fringed Hill and Codgers trails are all just a short ride from town.
If you have a vehicle then your options really expand. The Rameka Track for example from the top of Takaka Hill is well worth the trip, and offers a unique and immensely enjoyable 800 vertical metre descent into Takaka through native bush. The Heaphy Track is another Nelson region icon that doesn’t need much introduction – and now permanent MTB access has been granted it’s set to see continued growth in rider numbers as people from around the world make the trip to explore this truly amazing multi-day ride.