Pigeon Valley Loop

Pigeon Valley Loop

5 Days

Stoke – Wakefield – Motueka – Kaiteriteri – Mapua – Stoke (173.5 km)

A fabulous loop ride, this is one for experienced cyclists with a good level of fitness who don’t mind cycling on quiet roads, or the challenge of some hills and gravel. This is not a gentle route and best for cyclists who can last a while without a coffee, as there is one café-free section of more than 60km. But the beautiful scenery is food for the soul, especially the Motueka Valley ride where the soft, lush river valley is idyllic cycling country. The Pigeon Valley Road is an official NZ Cycle Trails route and this route is marked with trail markers.


Day 1. The Gentle Cycling Company to Wakefield via Brightwater (22km)

This leg is on the Great Taste Trail Rail route and we recommend taking time to stop along the way as there is a lot to see. This is a day of breweries and vineyards, plus a cheese shop, galleries, cafes and a pottery shop. And the landscape here is full of history, including the charming villages of Brightwater and Wakefield. This is a very easy leg, flat all the way.

Day 2. Wakefield to Motueka via Pigeon Valley & Riwaka (69km)

This is an on-road leg and there is a bit of a climb today, up and over the Pigeon Valley Saddle (325m), with a gravel section of 14km. There are no shops or cafes between Wakefield and Riwaka. The road is marked with Great Taste Trail markers and has low traffic volumes though logging trucks can be expected occasionally in one short section. Once over the saddle (the summit is 11 km from Wakefield) Pigeon Valley is lush and gently rolling and you will see the first old tobacco kiln on this road. The settlements in this valley are often just one house or perhaps a little school. Woodstock (32 km from Wakefield) is simply a junction and accommodation in the Woodstock area is very limited. From Woodstock to Riwaka (33 km) is an on-road section which is very quiet and lovely – and gently downhill virtually all the way, following the Motueka River. Enjoy the occasional roadside fruit stall, the tobacco and hop kilns, lovely picnic spots (and one fabulous swimming spot) beside the river here. The on-road section rejoins the Great Taste Trail Coastal Route at Riwaka and from here it is an easy 4km to the western edge of Motueka. The town is bustling and colourful during the summer fruit-picking season so take time to relax here.

Day 3. Motueka to Kaiteriteri (17km)

It’s a short day today, so you will have time to enjoy the beach at Kaiteriteri or book a half day trip in the Abel Tasman National Park. This section of the trail is “honesty box” country so expect some fresh fruit (in season) including apples, pears, nashi, grapes, feijoas, citrus and melons. Leaving Motueka the trail heads to Riwaka, a cute little village that is home to a great cafe and a craft brewery – so plan to stop there! After leaving Riwaka there is a section that goes right through a kiwifruit orchard before the trail rejoins the coast. The trail then climbs and drops beside the road for a section before ducking into the Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. This last section of 3.2 km, takes the Easy Rider Trail through the park. The surface is smooth and it is not technical but you might want to take it very gently as there are some tight corners. As the trail winds down through bush and pine trees you will soon get the first glimpse of your destination – the golden shores of Kaiteriteri Beach. The beach here is the departure point for boats travelling into the Abel Tasman National Park.

Day 4. Kaiteriteri to Mapua (43.5km)

You will be retracing your route on the Coastal Trail back to Motueka today, before continuing on to Mapua. Leaving Motueka, the trail follows the coast around the edge of the town then travels to Lower Moutere. There is a great cafe here, on the site of Riverside Community – the oldest alternative community in NZ. From here, the trail rises to follow a rolling ridge, with spectacular views out to Tasman Bay and across to Nelson city. The descent into the village of Tasman is a beauty and there is another great cafe here, with a quirky garden. The last section through to Mapua travels past apple orchards before another lovely descent down to the coast. Mapua village has lots to offer, including great bakery and the old wharf – a casual spot with kids swimming, two busy cafes, a brewery and hot-smoked fish and chips best eaten straight out of the paper.

Linger Longer in Mapua
If you have time, we recommend you consider spending 2 nights in Mapua. There are plenty of great cafes here for evening meals and the extra day would allow time for an on-road day ride up to Upper Moutere. This is home to Katie Gold and Owen Bartlett Pottery, the fabulous Neudorf Vineyard and Mahana Vineyards. This area is dotted with hop farms (some of which are visible from the roads) and the Moutere Inn, specialising in local craft beers, is located in Upper Moutere. For those with an interest in art, wine or beer, this day in the Moutere area is a must. For more information on this Upper Moutere day ride route see the day three description on this itinerary. When booking, please request a “Linger Longer in Mapua” version of this itinerary to add an extra night here.

Day 5. Mapua to The Gentle Cycling Company (22km)

The final section of your ride today starts with the ferry trip, which departs from the Mapua Wharf and takes about 5 minutes. Landing on Rabbit Island, the Coastal Trail is flat all the way back to Stoke. The first 7km section follows the beachfront at Rabbit Island, through pine forest. This area is a popular picnic and swimming spot. Leaving the beach, the trail meanders around an estuary edge and crosses some farmland before entering the urban area of Richmond. There is an industrial strip here before you meet the Rail Route to continue into Stoke. And McCashins Brewery Café is perfectly positioned for a celebration drink before returning to base at The Gentle Cycling Company – mission accomplished.

Pigeon Valley Loop - The Great Taste Trail Coastal Route Map

All Sorted5from $740 (adult)
E Bike surcharge $225

This itinerary is also available with an extra night in Mapua. Please request the “Linger Longer in Mapua” version of this itinerary at time of booking

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When you email us we will reply with a bunch of questions which will provide all the information we need to provide a quote for you. For “All Sorted” packages, we will reserve accommodation at time of quoting and this will be held until you confirm.

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  • Get in touch

    We’re open 7 days from 9am – 5pm  from 1 September 2017 till 27 April 2018. We are closed for Christmas 23 – 26 December and open for multi day rides but closed for single day rides on New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday & Anzac Day. Bookings are essential.

      Phone: 0800 932 453  / +64 3 929 5652
      Email: info@gentlecycling.co.nz
      Address: 411 Nayland Rd, Stoke, Nelson, NZ.
    15 minutes south of Nelson city & 10 minutes from Nelson Airport.