This section of Tasman's Great Taste Trail winds alongside the scenic Waimea Inlet to the popular recreation area/ beach on Rabbit Island. It ends at the Mapua Ferry, which can transfer cyclists to the seaside village of Mapua. Please note that from 1 May to 24 September 2017 the ferry is only operating on Fridays, Weekends, School & Public Holidays, or by appointment.
If you are starting from Champion Road you'll need to ride under State Highway 6 using the underpass. Please be aware that the underpass can be flooded at high tide. Check the tides before your trip to keep your bike free of salt water.
Riding from Champion Road or Nelson you will come to a sign-posted intersection where the right-hand trail heads to Mapua along the edge of the Waimea Inlet.
The Waimea Inlet is the largest enclosed estuary in the South Island and home to a wide range of sea birds including the bar-tailed godwit, white heron, royal spoonbill, little egret, Australasian bittern, and banded rail.
Following the trail along the edge of the Inlet will bring riders to Headingly Lane. Ride down Headingly Lane for approximately 220 metres before turning right onto a small bridge.
The trail continues from the right side of the bridge along the edge of Waimea Inlet until it reaches Best Road. Turn left and ride approximately 500 metres and turn right onto Lower Queen Street.
This end of Lower Queen Street is only partially sealed and has low traffic volumes, keep an eye out for other vehicles. At the end of Lower Queen Street you will see a sign-posted gateway to the right.
Following the trail along stop banks you'll cross the Waimea River via a suspension bridge constructed especially for the Great Taste Trail. Approximately 2 kilometres after crossing the Waimea River you will reach Redwood Road.
Turn right onto Redwood Road and follow the trail over a bridge and a causeway into the heart of Rabbit Island. The trail follows the side of the road through pine plantations until reaching the Rabbit Island beach.
Rabbit Island has been a popular recreation area for decades and features a beach with extensive picnic/ BBQ areas. The beach is popular for swimming, sandcastles, walking or just admiring the view.
The trail runs parallel to the beach front then through pine forest to the Northwest corner of the island where a section of the forest has recently been logged. The Mapua Ferry landing is on the right a short distance after reaching the logged area.
There is a waiting area for the Ferry with a view across to Mapua. Please visit the Mapua Ferry page for information on operating hours and sailing.