Tykes on Bikes 2: Tasman Great Taste Trail, New Zealand.

After the near disaster resounding success! of our last time cycling in Enzed we couldn’t wait to do it again. The boys were pumped, though Finn was quick to check we aren’t riding 25km again are we Mummy?

Of course not darling!!!!

…Well, maybe not. I don’t think so.

I don’t know.

Rabbit Island (Moturoa), Tasman New Zealand

We were going to Rabbit Island (Moturoa) which is only 8km long, coastal and mostly flat, so I figured we wouldn’t get our bums kicked this time. The island’s at the head of Tasman Bay, between Nelson and Mapua, at the top of the South Island, and is part of the Nelson-Tasman Great Taste Trail. (Which is also part of The New Zealand Cycle Trail. Never heard of it? You might soon; guess who was named as its first ever tourism ambassador last week? Our very own Megan Gale! Lucky gorgeous duck. I want your job.)

Anyway, the GTT is a tasty 174km bike route that runs from the gateway of the Abel Tasman National Park at Kaiteriteri past the vineyards, breweries, orchards and cafes of several towns to Nelson Airport. An added bonus for us was that it includes Mapua Wharf (chockers with fantastic restaurants, bars, a brewery, smokehouse, icecream parlour and galleries) which was only two blocks from our bach. We could also catch the ferry straight across to the island from there. Woohoo!

We hired bikes at Trail Journeys Nelson, also on the wharf, which included a nifty zip up bag on the back of mine to hold basic survival shit like water and choccie cake, and return ferry tickets to the island. Just as we wheeled out the bikes we saw the ferry had got in so we hauled arse down to the beach. Skipper Sean waited for us, commenting on the boys’ clean bikes and adding they had to be muddied up a bit to be allowed back on for the return trip. The boys were cool with this.

We'd chosen today to ride figuring the rain would make it cooler and easier. It did!
The beaches are cleaned of footprints twice a day by the 5 metre tides, which makes it feel like you’re the only ones there!

Thanks to it pissing down all day yesterday there were a few puddles on the trail – poor Roars copped it the worst, with mud and water and shit flicking up from J’s back tyre into his face. We pulled over and the extra waterproof map protector came in very handy as a makeshift mudguard. He still ended up with shit on his face, but at least he could see.

The beach was only a few dozen metres away, peeking from between the trees.
The track was easy and followed the beach; it’s just past the trees on the left.

Stopped for a wee, and a wee explore of the beach. The boys found themselves a cubby.

Stopped off for a wee and found a wee cubby. The grasses were all dripping and made my arse wet. Natural bidet?
The public loos were further around at the main beach so we had to rough it. I envied the boys; the long native grasses dripped on me and made my arse wet. Kiwi bidet?
Kiwis seem to love piling things... stacked driftwood on the beaches, rocks in the fields, All Blacks in the scrum...
Kiwis seem to love piling things… stacking driftwood on beaches, rocks in fields, All Blacks on Wallabies…

The slight drizzle was lovely and cooling, and it was nice seeing the coast in a darker mood. And almost deserted!

The beach on the northern side of the island. All lovely 13km of it.
The main beach on the northern side of the island. All lovely 8km of it mostly to ourselves.

I was chuffed the boys saw the adventure of it rather than the discomfort; at one point Finn yelled out “Riding in the rain is fun!” And Rory yelled back, “Yeah! I wuv it!” Made me smile.

All ours...

We also checked out a little section called the Conifer Park Track which was built especially for kids; a series of winding tracks spread over half a kilometre or so with some easy climbs and nice fast downhill sections. The boys loved it! Finn shot off ahead, yelling “THIS IS SO SICK!!”

I could hear Rory giggling
I could hear Rory giggling and telling J “go faster Daddy!”
We did about 5 or 6 laps of the place.
We did about 5 or 6 laps of the place, then rode around a bit more trying to find the exit.

Can’t remember the roads we took after that, but we had lunch somewhere. After that we kind of just followed our noses, still heading clockwise around the island, the picturesque inlet and pine forest making me think we were in North America.

Next to the inlet
No grizzlies today, and no grizzling either!
More rain so hoodie up. If you saw him from the back you'd think he was a Conehead.
More rain – hoodie up. From the back he looks like a massive Conehead.

Then it was time to catch a lift back with Sean. We could see him coming from Mapua and made it in plenty of time, but if we’d missed him we could always have called his mobile (his number’s on a noticeboard) or failing that, done star jumps on the beach/thrown the kids in the air to get his attention.

On the way back he let the boys take turns at the wheel! They were stoked.

My guys love anything with a steering wheel. They'll even race each other on those toddlers car toys if there's nothing else.
My guys love anything with a steering wheel. Roars insists he’s going to be a racecar driver when he’s grown up. I don’t think we got above 10kph this time.

Our course weaved back and forth a fair bit so we probably covered twice the distance Sean would have, but they did great and were very chuffed with themselves. Their second go at the helm of a calm water boat actually!

(…and on that subject did you know the railing of a Misty Harbour pontoon boat is the perfect height for a two year old to rest his balls on while he pees over the side? That’s something you won’t find in the brochure.)

Mapua Ferry Moturoa
Eyes front Roars! You might hit that sea monster!
Finn of course just having to explore every inch.
Finn of course just having to go out and stand over the water. Note huge skiddies up his back.
Rory pensive, Rory just realising I'm watching him, and Rory... AAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!
Rory thoughtful, Rory realising I’m watching him, and Rory… AAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!
OMG where's Batman when you need him?
“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” OMG freaky kid. Cute but freaky. And lovable in a scary-doll-that-might-try-to-kill-you kind of way.

There was an odometer on my bike but dammit I forgot to note down our starting point! I figure we rode for about 2.5 hours all up, at a (modest) guesstimate of 10kph, so we did about 25km. Probably more. No big hills or meltdowns though!

Stopped off on the way home at the Rabbit Island Coffee Co., which is a fancy Kiwi cafe, being a shipping container in a paddock. Next to it is a big yellow ice-cream van school bus that sells a local speciality, real fruit soft serve. We got boysenberry … real boysenberry, from fruit grown in the orchards just over the road. OMNOMNOM…

I was too busy eating mine to take a photo – boysenberry is my favourite! That’s one more thing Enzed has over Oz, being able to grow that magical fruit!

Then home to get cleaned up and head out for tea on Mapua Wharf. Luverly!

– Michelle

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m just stalking your page at the moment–hope that’s okay! 🙂 Loooooove the new theme!! It looks great!! I like how the left part of the page stays still while the right side scrolls. 🙂 And–your photography is amazing. You really and truly catch the action of everything as it happens. There’s a sort of immediacy to your photos that I admire (if that makes sense?) it definitely makes me rethink how I do photos! I’m one to have everyone stand in a line and say “cheese!” Yeah…real interesting. :-)))


    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback! I love the new theme too. And ta also for complimenting my photos – I do like taking candid and action photos and because sometimes the boys don’t want their picture taken/will stop doing what I want to photograph them doing I have to be a bit sneaky.


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