Mapua and nearby Ruby Bay are favourite spots for us, and so after our stay at Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds, we head drove to the Nelson area for a few days.
I am sure Nelson city is a nice place, but getting through it and out the other side is not straightforward, and we were glad to eventually get past the traffic and out the other side.
Driving along the Moutere Inlet is the start for me of the jewels in the Nelson area – Mapua, Motueka, The Great Taste Cycle Trail and the Abel Tasman National Park.
We have decided to stay near Ruby Bay – at St James Cottage – a very cute stand alone cottage in a lovely garden. It is a short cycle to Mapua Wharf and Rabbit Island, and not far to Motueka where we are to meet friends. It is also on the airport side of Nelson – I am flying to Wellington for a meeting while I am here.
Always worth a visit – there are some fantastic shops to browse and delectable things to eat, and if you have your bike, or want a walk – hop on the ferry to Rabbit Island. In the middle of the Great Taste Cycle Trail – you can go either direction from here.
There are some great shops here near the Mapua Wharf – some of them we visit every trip – from a serious straw hats to funky NZ art, and seriously good icecream and coffee.
Kohatu to Wakefield – Day Five of The Great Taste Cycle Trail
We were keen to do this new section of the trail through the long Spooner Tunnel, so we drove to Kohatu where there is a great little cafe and lots of safe parking.
Btw – highly recommended to ride Kohatu to Wakefield in this direction as after the Tunnel there is a steep and very rough ride.
On our way we stopped at Tapawera where the local shop was actively catering to cyclists with fresh sandwiches and take away Coffee. Across the road we discovered the delightful story of the women who protested the closing of the railway. The protest was at Kiwi, and the story is celebrated along with the restored station building now moved to Tapawera on the Cycle trail.
On 23 September 1955 former teacher Ruth Page and four other women drove from Nelson to the small station at Kiwi, where they and others sat in the goods shed and on the railway lines for a week.
They were trying to stop the demolition of Nelson’s railway line. Arrested on 30 September, they were convicted and fined for trespassing on railway property. Ruth Page is sitting on the platform. Sonja Davies, later a member of Parliament, is seated at Page’s feet, looking up at the woman standing.
This is a great ride – through forest reserves, off road around Waiiti river – past a lot of free range chickens. Some tracks follow the main road.
The 1.4 km long Spooner Tunnel is definitely the main highlight, but there are others – Belgrave the the Historic Railway Windmill, and at highly recommend The Villa at Wakefield for a refreshment stop. It has a great food and beautiful setting with glorious roses and overgrown bicycles.
Bernie Whitaker says
The Gentle Cycling Company in Nelson is happy to provide bespoke tours tailored to your abilities and distances you’re wanting to cover, and what you’d like to see along the way.
We have e-bikes, 24 speed, 3 speed and cruiser bikes, and vans to support your journey. We organise accommodation, your ferry over to Mapua and bag shuttles. We provide topographical maps and a personalised briefing for your journey.
The Nelson Bays area offers much to see and do, and most of The Great Taste Trail is off-road.
Come and experience our Zero carbon itinerary of over 101 things to do in Nelson.
All the best,
Chris and Bernie
The Gentle Cycling Company