The village of Wakefield is steeped in history and is home to around 2,000 residents. A short distance from Wakefield on Pigeon Valley Road is the Pigeon Valley Steam Museum. South of Wakefield is a 5km section on the main road (SH6) to Wai-iti Domain, then it is back on cycle trail to Belgrove.
At Belgrove, the local pub provides a welcome place to stop for refreshments. Nearby is the Belgrove Railway Windmill built in 1897. It is then back onto cycle trail adjacent to the road, and then onto 'rail trail' along the old Nelson Railway. Cycle through pastoral countryside and past historic tobacco kilns for 7km until you reach Spooners Tunnel.
The Tunnel is not lit and cyclists will need to use their torches. A warm layer is also needed as it is cold in the tunnel. The 1.4km Spooners Tunnel is NZ's longest decommissioned rail tunnel and has important heritage value. It is the 6th longest tunnel open to cycling and walking in the world, and the longest in the southern hemisphere. Trains used the Nelson Railway line and Spooners Tunnel until services stopped in 1955. When the line closed, there were many protests that gained national attention. One protestor was trade unionist, politician and feminist Sonja Davies. The decision of Davies and other local women to sit on the tracks at Kiwi for six days - culminating in defying an oncoming locomotive - caused outrage.
Cycle trail ends at Norris Gully (2km south of the Southern end of the Tunnel) and if you don't want to do road riding then get a pick-up here from the picnic area car park.
If you simply want a 'taste' of the trail and an interesting historic outing, there are good options for parking your car. These are at Wai-iti Domain, the carpark adjacent to the Belgrove pub, and at Norris Gully. From each of these carparks, there are signs and off-road trail to Spooners Tunnel (and back again) for a safe ride or walk.
Car Parking - Spooners Tunnel
- On SH6, 5.3km south of Wakefield, on left hand side
- Unlimited Parking
- Cycle distance to Spooners Tunnel 11km
- On SH6, 10km south of Wakefield by trail (9km by road)
- Limited parking Monday to Friday, Weekend and Public Holiday 50+, refer to map below for further details on car parking
- WARNING: you need to cross state highway (100km speed limit) to get to Cycle Trail. Please be careful.
- Cycle distance to Spooners Tunnel 6.4km
- On SH6, 21km south of Wakefield, on right hand side
- Unlimited Parking
- Cycle distance to Spooners Tunnel 1.7km