The tiny village of Upper Moutere and it’s environs are a detour off the Great Taste Trail and this area provides a fabulous day ride from Mapua. The cycling is on quiet roads in a rolling landscape of lush farmland, hop gardens and vineyards with stunning views to the ranges and the sea. Cycling here is great any time, and even better on Labour Weekend Sunday, as this is the Moutere Artisans Weekend.
The Moutere Artisans include ceramic artists, wine makers, sculptors, mushroom growers, cider makers, cheesemakers, olive oil producers, and more, who live in and around the village. While some have premises that are open regularly, the Labour Weekend event is a once a year opportunity to visit more of the artisans. The cycling experience is made even more memorable through having the chance to explore behind gates that are usually not open to the public.
The village pub is the Moutere Inn, reputed to be the oldest pub in New Zealand and a must-visit site for Craft Beer fans. While in the area, expect to see hop gardens, as this is the only area in New Zealand where hops are grown and old (and new) hop kilns dot the landscape. The area was settled by German Lutherans in the 1840’s, who came expecting to make wine. The oak trees they planted for their wine barrels are still visible as you bike along the country roads. But these early German settlers found that the new New Zealanders preferred beer and that this area, with it’s perfect latitude and sheltered wind-free valleys, was good for hops.
In the village is the Old Post Office Store, home to the Moutere Gold range of handmade jams and chutneys, Skunk & Robot handprinted textiles and Woods & Co contemporary art space. And just across the road is the gallery of potters Katie Gold and Owen Barlett, set in a beautiful colonial house and garden. While in the village, the graveyard in the Lutheran church is worth a visit and there is jewel-like Gottfried Lindauer painting inside the church.
For more information on the cycling route, check out the details on our Art & Food itinerary. The ride from Mapua to Upper Moutere is not flat and is recommended for experienced cyclists who are confident with distances of at least 35km a day. Our topographic Good Things Maps provide detailed cycling information on this area. For more information on the Moutere Artisans, visit www.moutereartisans.co.nz