High praise for Taste Trail
The Tasman Great Taste Trail isn't even finished and it's listed as one of New Zealand's great rides in a definitive guide to the country's cycle trails.
Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails has just been published by well-known Wellington-based cycling writers Paul, Simon and Jonathan Kennett.
The brothers have already written a number of popular cycling guides and their latest 280-page publication features 46 classic trails including the Great Taste Trail.
The book states that riders can experience the "best wine, food, art and fashion on offer in Nelson and Tasman as you gently pedal from one tempting attraction to the next".
It identifies the region's good weather, scenery and award-winning wineries as highlights of the trail, which is classified as a Great Ride.
Although the trail is still under construction, the book outlines alternative routes along the roads so that riders can complete the 158 kilometre loop. When the trail is finished it will link Nelson, Richmond, Wakefield, Tapawera, Motueka and Kaiteriteri, Mapua and Rabbit Island.
Jonathan said the Tasman's Great Taste Trail was "arguably the most versatile trail in New Zealand, and that's why it's a winner".
"During the week you already see hundreds of people using it to get to work and school. Then in the weekend, it's hugely popular with local recreational cyclists. And during the holidays you will see more and more people attracted to explore Nelson by bike."
"The thing I love about the trail is that it is so easy I can ride it with my non-cycling friends and know they'll have a great time. The trail itself is a brilliant cycle advocate.
"There is so much passion behind the trail, it's incredible. Dedicated staff and volunteers at all levels, striving to make Tasman's Great Taste Trail a world-class cycling experience."
Jonathan said it was the one trail that he could see drawing him back to the Tasman region "every year for the rest of my life".
He said his favourite part of the trail was from Richmond through to Mapua via Rabbit Island.
"The coastal scenery is stunning, there's lots of birdlife, and the trail itself rides beautifully. And Mapua is great destination to refuel and go shopping before heading back.
"Now that the Pigeon Valley to Woodstock route has been signposted there is a great . . . cycling holiday that I'm sure will be really popular."
The Dun Mountain Trail near Nelson and Heaphy Track, which has been open to mountainbikers for a winter trial period for the last two years, are also listed as Great Rides in the book.
The Golden Downs trail between Wakefield and St Arnaud is listed as a Connector Ride while and Rainbow Trail from Nelson Lakes to Hanmer Springs, made famous by the Rainbow Rage, is listed as a Heartland Ride.
The book includes maps and photos of all 46 rides. It has a recommended retail price of $29.90.