New Baton cycle bridge a significant milestone for the Great Taste Trail

The Baton Bridge is now complete, adding a taste of “back and beyond” to Tasman’s Great Taste Trail. The Nelson Tasman Cycle Trust wishes to thank all those who have helped to reach this milestone.

There has been significant effort over more than ten years by landowners, Council members, the Tapawera community, and businesses who have provided contract and construction services to get the Great Taste Trail to from Tapawera to Woodstock via the Baton.

Gillian Wratt, Chair of the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust says, “completing this bridge is exciting and means that we now have 168km of back roads and purpose-built cycle trail to be enjoyed.  The Great Taste Trail can be ridden in short sections or as a three to five day loop, taking in the diversity of the region – from urban to rural, sparkling coastlines and the backblocks of Tasman.”

“This new section of trail offers riders an experience that is different from the rest of the Great Taste Trail. If you are seeking valleys and mountains, this section of the trail from Tapawera to Woodstock is for you. The ride is remote and picturesque, and a chance to be at one with nature amid vistas of the mountains, back country farmlands, crystal clear rivers and big skies.”

Gillian also notes that the experience comes with backcountry guidelines and urges riders to, “please be aware that there are very few options for re-supply between Tapawera and Riwaka, so make sure you are fuelled up before starting – that is both yourself and, if riding an e-bike, your battery. Also, the trail from Tapawera to Woodstock is on a loose gravel rural road, and is shared by vehicles including logging trucks and milk tankers, so riders need to take care and keep left at all times.”

The Great Taste Trail has enjoyed a surge in use from people on bikes and on foot, over the past two years. A recently released MBIE report, the 2021 Evaluation of Nga Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand, shows an increase of more than 204,000 trips annually, or 10.3 per cent growth in trail usage across the 22 Great Rides.

Increased use of the Great Taste Trail is even more impressive. A total of 315,478 users were recorded on the Great Taste Trail for the year ending June 2021. This is an increase of more than 47,565 trips annually, or 18 per cent growth in trail usage. The report compares June 2020 to June 2021 data with February 2019 to February 2020.”

Gillian believes that the reasons for the increased use are many, “following the border closure in 2020, Kiwi families increasingly took to their bikes and to walking in the great outdoors and there was a corresponding surge in spending and economic activity in the regions. In Nelson Tasman we have a benign climate that enables cycling all year round and, with more trail being progressively opened, there is always something new for people to experience.”

For the Great Taste Trail there is still further work planned from Woodstock to Riwaka and several other trail sections, which will further improve the loop - the longest loop ride on purpose built off-road trail and back roads anywhere in New Zealand.”

For more information about the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust and the Coppermine Trail or Great Taste Trail, visit  ENDS