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Mountain Biking in Nelson Tasman

Tourism NZ

Where to peddle in the Nelson Tasman region.

Friendly locals, beautiful beaches, many sunshine hours, and a decent variety of hostels with character: no wonder so many backpackers can’t resist staying in Nelson for a while. Plus, in the Nelson Tasman region, you don’t have to travel far to find some excellent outdoor activities. One of which is mountain biking.

As cliche as it sounds, there really is something for everyone. There’s hardcore downhill fun to be had at Codgers, Sharlands and Kaiteriteri trails. Backcountry missions can be found on the Heaphy and Rameka tracks. For those that enjoy chilling and eating, rather than pedalling until their sweat is blood and their blood is sweat, there’s the easygoing Great Taste Trail and urban trails.

Prepare for the ride

Apart from the obvious getting your water and food ready to take on the trails, there are some other things you can do to prepare for your mountain biking trip in Nelson Tasman.

  • If you are going on forest trails, you need to check if you require a temporary forest permit. These can be purchased at local bike hire stores
  • To arrange shuttle services and get a trail map, talk to your hostel receptionist, i-SITE or bike hire store.
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Nelson City urban cycle routes

Starting in the centre of Nelson, there’s no need to arrange a shuttle. Just hire a bike and go! The locals may think of these trails as ‘commuter routes’ but with plenty of pretty things to see along the way, you can be forgiven for using them as a tourist attraction.

Waterfront Ride (11km)

Feel the sea breeze on your face! This route starts at the Maitai Walkway (near Trafalgar Centre) and takes you along the waterfront to Tahunanui Recreation Reserve, also known as the beach.

Maitai River Ride (3.7km)

This is an easy one. Just follow the riverside trail inland to swimming holes and picnic spots.

Trafalgar Cycleway (4.8km)

Start from Collingwood Street and head to the waterfront where you follow the cycleway. This loop trail takes you past the Miyazu Japanese Gardens.

The Old Railway Route (13km)

This trail gives you a chance to nosy around the city and ride along the waterfront. The loop starts by heading south at the Railway Reserve.

Monaco Loop (5km)

This coastal loop track starts from the Humpback Bridge next to the airport.

Tourism NZ

Tasman’s Great Taste Trail (175km)

Nothing splits a long bike ride than endless amounts of food stops. Some might say this track can be done in “bite-sized portions”… All bad jokes aside, the Tasman Great Taste Trail showcases the coastal and inland scenery while passing vineyards, breweries and orchards. It’s a laid back off-road ride, which is best done with a few mates at your side.

The Great Taste Trail is a loop track, so you can start anywhere on the route that goes by Nelson, Richmond, Mopua, Motueka, Kaiteriteri, Wakefield, Woodstock and Riwaka. Be aware that you will need to take the Mopua Ferry. Find the prices and timetables here.

Cycle hire and transport can be organised with Trail Journeys in Nelson.

Schwede66 on Wikipedia

Dun Mountain Trail (43km)

There are several great things about this trail: it’s super easy to get to from Nelson City, it’s a loop trail, it only takes one day to do, it offers incredible views, and has one of the longest downhill mountain bike sections in the country.

The Dun Mountain Trail requires you to be able to take on an intermediate to advanced track (grade 3 and grade 4). Access to the track is at Brook Street, just 2.7km from Nelson City centre.

Tim on Wikipedia

Heaphy Track (78.4km)

Yes, one of the New Zealand Great Walk‘s is open to mountain bikers in the off-peak season (1 May – 30 September). This is a remote, multi-day adventure through stunning landscape that New Zealand is famous for. Ride through diverse forests, mountain tops, creek crossings and exposed sections. Remember to book the Great Walk huts before your trip.

You will need to arrange transport to and from this track. Bus services go to either end. The Brown Hut end is near Collingwood and the Kohaihai end is near Karamea.

nut.in.a.hut on Wikipedia

Rameka Track (19km)

Navigate the goblin forests and limestone features, which are all inland in the Abel Tasman National Park. You’ll literally ride through The Hobbit filming locations in the Canaan Downs. The first half of the track is a challenge over rocks and river crossings, but the rest of the route is pretty easygoing. This is a one-way trail so you’ll need to organise transport.


Nelson Tasman purpose-built mountain bike parks

Downhill mountain bikers will be served in the Nelson Tasman region! The following MTB parks and trails are all manmade for optimal enjoyment. Plus, they are all easily accessible from Nelson.

Sharlands Trails

Situated in Hira Forest, you will need to get a permit to use the trails. Access is a 10-minute ride from the city along the Maitai Valley Road.

Richmond Hills

Easily accessed from Easeby Park, off Marlborough Cresent.

Codgers MTB Park

The trails start from Brook Street and are well signposted. This MTB park has been known to close after storm damage so check if it’s open first.

Kaiteriteri MTB Park

Kaiteriteri is roughly one hour from Nelson at the entrance of the Abel Tasman National Park. The MTB park is down Martin Farm Road, which is a one-minute ride from the centre of Kaiteriteri.

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What else is there to do in Nelson Tasman?


Read through our guides so you never get bored in the Nelson Tasman region.

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