Adele Thurlow checks out some highlights of Nelson's best bike trails.
The Great Taste Trail
Don't be intimidated by this 174km trail — you most certainly don't have to commit to the full distance of this New Zealand "Great Ride". The trail is easily divided into manageable sections with plenty to see and do along the way, dipping in and out to suit your timeframe — you can even begin hot off the plane at Nelson Airport with a hire bike from Kiwi Journeys.
The single day 32km Nelson to Mapua section features some of the trail's best scenery. The coastal trail covers the Monaco Peninsula and Waimea Estuary with short detours leading to the World of Wearable Art Museum and Pic's Peanut Butter factory. After riding across Rabbit Island, cyclists are transported by cycle ferry across to Mapua with its boutique stores and waterfront dining — the perfect place to end this part of the Great Taste Trail.
City Mural Trail
Using the Street Art Cities website or app, navigate Nelson's CBD and surrounds locating some of the city's 103 impressive street murals. Predominantly flat streets and cafes aplenty make for an easy, enjoyable day out on two wheels. The online street art database includes information and photos of each artwork along with navigation links to guide cyclists from mural to mural.
If you'd like to add a little more pedal power into your day, continue on from the Maitai River mural stops to do a short section of the Great Taste Trail linking Nelson to Stoke via the Old Railway Route.
Wine region on wheels
Enjoy an extraordinary culinary and wine experience by bike in Nelson Tasman's wine region. The gravel threaded clay soils of the Moutere are formed from an ancient river system and are renowned for producing wines of richness and texture. Moutere Village is home to passionate artisan producers of sheep cheese, olive oil, jams, chutneys, gourmet mushrooms and traditional cider.
There's great sightseeing and a history lesson to be had by bike in central Nelson. Check out:
•South Street, New Zealand's oldest fully preserved street with cottages dating back to the 1860s.
•Founders Park with its character buildings and attractions which tell the stories of Nelson's rich heritage.
•Christ Church Cathedral standing proudly on Pikimai Hill since 1925, with marble and granite sourced from within the region.
•Although not technically the Centre of New Zealand, this much-visited location was historically used as a geodetic survey point and offers great views over Nelson, Tasman Bay and out to the Kahurangi Ranges. Park your bike at Botanical Reserve and walk up.
Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to Nelson. Jetstar has direct flights from Auckland to Nelson until the end of November.
Kiwi Journeys has bike hire depots in Nelson City, Mapua and Kaiteriteri, and provides shuttle transport throughout the Great Taste Trail.