The village of Upper Moutere and it’s environs are a cycling heaven. And if you have never been to the Nelson region or have not had a chance to explore, this area is a must-see. After all, this is the region that inspired the early modernist painters such as Doris Lusk and Bill Sutton and has attracted arty types ever since. The hills of the beautiful Moutere area were covered in apple orchards then, whilst now you may see more vineyards than apples, but that isn’t all bad! Upper Moutere is a detour off the Great Taste Trail but we think it is well worth the ride – as long as you are happy cycling on roads. We recommend a stopover in Mapua en route. The village here is a beauty and if you enjoy a bustling holiday atmosphere, come during January – but book your accommodation early. The wharf at Mapua is now home to cafes and artsy, foody places, but not so long ago it was the loading point for ships, taking those fabulous Nelson apples to far flung ports. The photographs in the little museum on the wharf are a fascinating record of this history. A personal foody favourite in Mapua is the Naked Bun Cafe, where the European style baking is pretty jolly good.
Upper Moutere is just a tiny village, with a pub – The Moutere Inn – popular with lovers of Craft Beer as they have a great range. Their food is also reputed to be pretty tasty. The atmosphere is unpretentious and while the building may have lost some of it’s original architectural features during it’s 100 years plus, it’s significance in the village still remains and it is reputed to be the oldest pub in NZ. Upper Moutere 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. Allow time for some extra rides when you are in this area and our maps will direct you to the best routes for seeing hop gardens and old hop kilns as you ride – they are pretty special.
In the village is the Moutere Gold Pantry Store, purveyors of delicious chutneys, jams, local cheeses and now wines too. And just across the road is the gallery of potters Katie Gold and Owen Barlett, set in a beautiful colonial house and garden. The graveyard in the Lutheran church is worth spending time in and there is jewel-like Gottfried Lindauer painting inside the church. And then there are the wineries. The wine and the setting at Woollaston Estates make it must-see. Along-side the tasting room is a purpose-built gallery, showing working by top NZ and international artists. They often show the work of Sir Tosswill Woollaston, whose son Phillip is one of the owners of the vineyard. There are also delicious lunch platters available here. The equally beautiful Neudorf Vineyard has an international reputation for it’s Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard also hosts an annual country fair and Summer Winery Tour concerts, where the tree-lined gardens are a perfect setting.
The region around Upper Moutere is a very rewarding cycling destination and these are just some of the highlights. Follow our Facebook page for posts about the tasty, arty goings on in Gentle Cycling country. And get in touch if you need more information – we love sharing our place.