7. Nelson: Self-Guided Tunnel to Town Cycling Tour via Mapua
Begin your journey in Nelson City at 8:35 AM where you will be fitted for your bikes and briefed on the tour. Get ready to board your trail transport by road, and escape to the countryside by 9 AM. With an approximate shuttle time of 45 minutes to Spooner’s Tunnel, your driver will give you some useful tips about the trail including food and beverage stops. Enjoy the longest (1352 meters) tunnel route open to cyclists in the southern hemisphere. Cycle along the old unique rail corridor into Richmond and admire the amazing scenery of the countryside. Ride through farmland, pristine native forests, following rivers, swing-bridges, past vineyards, and berry farms. Then, stop for lunch at the Grape Escape Café followed by a tasting at the Richmond Plains/Te-Mania winery and finally, by a real fruit ice cream made from local berries. From Richmond, Mapua is an approximately 15- kilometers ride. Enjoy the views from the coastal boardwalks of the Waimea Estuary and fertile farmland. Spot native bird species including the kotuku or white heron along the way. Cross the spectacular Waimea Swing Bridge before heading on to Rabbit Island. On the way, you may stop at the oldest and largest winery in Nelson at the Seifried Estate. Once in Rabbit Island, explore the white sandy beaches and take a dip in the warm sea waters. Next, journey across the channel on the iconic Mapua Ferry. Land at Mapua Wharf and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of galleries, studios, restaurants, cafes, shops and the Golden Bear Boutique Brewery. Afterward, jump on the Trail Hopper transport and return to Nelson.