Round trip from Picton

The Marlborough and Tasman districts on the southern island of New Zealand are very nice to visit, with the scenic Queen Charlotte Sounds in northeast, the vineyards of Marlborough in east, and the Abel Tasman National Park in northwest.

You may hire bikes in a bike shop (for example My Ride) in Wellington on the Northern Island and take the ferry to Picton on the Southern Island. It is easy to find accomodations and cafés in Picton; for example Harbour Views Motel may be chosen for overnight stay.

Day 1. Picton to Renwick (40 km, map link)

Wonderful morning in Picton

From Picton, the suggested route goes south along State Highway 1 (SH1, Walrau Road) to the wine district of Marlborough, where many nice vineyards can be visited and a lunch café can be found (for example Allan Scott Bistro near Renwick).

Vineyard view near Spring Creek

Marlborough wine district is an exciting place to stay for more than one night. There are a lot of nice roads to bike and vineyards to visit, and a lot to learn about wine, food and culture.

In Renwick, several accomodations and restaurants are found. For example Anglesea House & Garden may be chosen for overnight stay.

Day 2. Renwick to Rai Valley (59 km, map link)

From Renwick, the suggested route goes north along State Highway 6 (SH6) and the rivers Okaramio and Kaituna. The view along SH6 of surrounding hills and farms is beautiful and interesting. Sharing the road with cars and trucks, with a speed limit up to a 100 km/h, should be relatively safe when the shoulder of the road is wide enough for bicycles.

Harbour view in Havelock

In Havelock, a nice lunch café can be found (for example The Mussel Pot). Then continue west along SH6 and the river Te Hoiere to Pelorus Bridge. Here the road shoulder is more narrow at places, so remember to keep a distance to passing cars.

Pelorus Bridge

At Pelorus Bridge, SH6 turns north into Rai Valley, where Mount Richmond Estate Motel can be recommended for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3. Rai Valley to Nelson (43 km, map link)

This region is beautiful

From Rai Valley, the route goes north along SH6 past Rai Saddle, and then downhill into the beautiful valley going southwest along river Whangamoa. Turning west from the river valley, SH6 climbs to 400 m above sea level at Whangamoa Saddle, continuing downhill with a magnificent view. In the narrow curves of the road, it is important for cyclists to watch out for passing cars and trucks.

It seems difficult to find lunch cafés along the route, so if you need something to eat between Rai Valley and Nelson, then you should bring your own food and make an outdoor stop along the road.

Tasman Bay

After the hills, SH6 reaches the coast of Tasman Bay, which is extremely shallow near Nelson, with a large tidal area. The final kilometres into Nelson go on dedicated bike paths along SH6. There are many good restaurants in Nelson, for example Boat Shed Café at the seaside. The Sails Motel may be recommended for overnight stay.

To stay in Nelson more than one night can be recommended. In addition to the beautiful cathedral, musees, vineyards and restaurants, the Nelson area has a nice network of well marked bike paths.

Day 4. Nelson to Motueka (62 km, map link)

The bike path is so good

From the centre of Nelson, take the bike path along road SH6 (Queen Elizabeth II Drive, continuing southwest as Haven Road, Wakefield Quai and Rocks Road). The suggested route turns right from Rocks Road to Beach Road, entering Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, which goes along the sea and along minor roads past the airport (Parkers Road, Bolt Road, Trent Drive, Whakatu Drive) and further along the sea on a dirt trail with spectacular wooden bridges via Lower Queen Street to Rabbit Island. Take the bicycle ferry to Mapua, where lunch cafés are found at Mapua Wharf.

A nice ride with the Mapua ferry

The Great Taste Trail goes along Aranui Road to a bike path along the sea, continuing on Broadsea Avenue, Stafford Drive, Pine Hill Road, Pippin Lane, Marriages Road and Aporo Road to a spectacular hilly landscape along Harley Road and Tasman View Road. The Great Taste Trail continues on Main Road Lower Moutere, Wildman Road and Quayle Street to High Street at Motueka, where several accomodations and restaurants are found. For example Nautilus Lodge Motel can be recommended for overnight stay.

Being close to Abel Tasman National Park, Motueka is strongly recommended for a longer stay. You may bike along the Great Taste Trail to Kaiteriteri and back, or stay overnight in Kaiteriteri to take a day trip with kayak further into the national park.

Scenic Kaiteriteri

Day 5. Motueka to Nelson (62 km, map link)

The suggested route from Motueka to Nelson is the same as for Nelson to Motueka.

Day 6. Nelson to Rai Valley (43 km, map link)

The suggested route from Nelson to Rai Valley is the same as for Rai Valley to Nelson.

Day 7. Rai Valley to Anakiwa (50 km, map link)

From Havelock towards Anakiwa

The suggested route from Rai Valley to Havelock is the same as for Havelock to Rai Valley. To continue towards Anakiwa, go south to Mahakipawa Road (Queen Charlotte Drive) which is a nice road to bike, going along the sea with relatively few cars. Continue on Linkwater, and turn right along Anakiwa Road. For example Anakiwa 401 may be selected for overnight stay.

Anakiwa bay

Staying more than one night may be a good idea, giving an opportunity to explore Queen Charlotte Track, or to bike from Linkwater north along Kenepuru Road to the Mahau and Pelorus Sounds.

What a morning!

Day 8. Anakiwa to Picton (23 km, map link)

From Anakiwa, go east along Queen Charlotte Drive back to Picton, where the ferry can be taken back to Wellington.

Lovely flowers even in winter