Trail Grades and Safety

Our trails have been graded according to the trail grade standards set out by NZ Cycle Trails. You can read them here.

We recommend riders are fit and well prepared and we encourage you to know your limits and choose a trail that's suitable for all the riders in your group. Also be aware that there are areas on the trails where there is no cellphone reception. You may want to carry a Personal Locator Beacon in these areas. Check network coverage here.

Richmond to Mapua Ferry

Ride Length
20 km
Riding Time
1-2 hours
1: Easiest

If you are already on the cycle trail from Nelson stay on the trail and follow the trail signs.

If you are joining the cycle trail in Richmond, access the trail from Beach Road, or the west end of Champion Road near the ASB Aquatic Centre car park.

Just out of Richmond, the trail passes a composting centre and Nelson Pine Industries’ plant. This plant sustainably produces GoldenEdge MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and NelsonPine LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) from radiata pine grown in the forests of Nelson. Visitors often comment on the chimney emissions, this is just steam.

The trail takes in coastal pathways and board walks around the beautiful, and ecologically significant Waimea Inlet. It is ideally done a few hours either side of high tide for the very best scenery, although bird spotting is best when the tide is out. Check tides.

The Waimea Inlet is the largest enclosed estuary in the South Island and home to a wide range of wading and sea birds including the bar-tailed godwit, white heron, royal spoonbill, little egret, Australasian bittern, and banded rail.

At the end of the inlet follow the trail left onto Best Island Rd before joining Lower Queen St and heading across the Waimea river suspension bridge, which was built for bikes. Then it’s on to Rabbit Island, through pine forest, out to the expansive beach front, and on towards the Mapua Ferry.

Rabbit Island is a popular recreation area with a swimming beach and many picnic spots. The trail runs parallel to the beach front and on through the forest to the northwest corner of the island.

The Mapua Ferry transfers cyclists to the seaside village of Mapua and the Mapua Wharf precinct. Take time to enjoy Mapua, it offers options for lunch, a relaxing drink and interesting gift shopping. Mapua also has accommodation options, bike hire, and guided tours of the surrounding countryside and wineries.

Visit the Mapua Ferry website for information on operating hours and sailings which change with the seasons.

Richmond to Mapua Ferry Profile Map
Richmond to Mapua Ferry Profile Map