NELSON TRAILS

Wakefield to Kohatu

Great Taste Trail

The Wakefield to Kohatu section of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail features the historic Spooners Railway Tunnel, which was once used on the Nelson-Glenhope Railway. The 1.35 km-long tunnel was completed in 1893 and was open up until 1955, when the railway was decommissioned. The tunnel lay mostly unused for 60 years until it was re-opened in 2016 to become part of the Great Taste Trail.

Details
Length26.8 km one way Wakefield to Kohatu; 18.9 km one way Wakefield to southern tunnel portal; 7.9 km one way southern tunnel portal to Kohatu
Time Required1 hr 30 min – 2 hr one way Wakefield to Kohatu (biking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyEasy   
Technical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
NoteThere is no lighting in the tunnel; make sure you bring a decent headlight or torch

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Connections

Dovedale Saddle

   MTB and trail running

Golden Downs Trail (Heartland Ride)

  Cycling

Motueka Valley

  Cycling

Access

  25 min from central Nelson (Wakefield) | 45 min central from Nelson (Kohatu)

 

The northern end of this section of the Great Taste Trail begins at Wakefield, 15 km south of Richmond along State Highway 6 (SH6). It is a direct continuation of the Richmond to Wakefield section of the trail. The southern end is at Kohatu, (next to Flat Rock Cafe), which is 30 min south of Nelson along SH6.

 

If you’re coming specifically to ride through Spooners Tunnel, Wai-iti Domain, Belgrove and the southern tunnel portal are good places to park.

 

Wai-iti Domain

Wai-iti Domain is 6 km south of Wakefield along SH6, on the left side of the highway immediately before it crosses Wai-iti River. There is unlimited parking here.

 

Belgrove

On the left side of SH6, directly opposite Belgrove Tavern, there is a parking area next to the historic Belgrove Windmill. Parking here is limited; on weekdays, only a handful of spaces are available. On weekends and public holidays only a larger part of the area is open for parking, though this is still limited to around 50 spaces. This is the closest place you can park to the northern portal of the tunnel.

 

Southern Tunnel Portal

There is a parking area a few hundred metres from the southern end of the tunnel. On the southern side of Spooners Saddle, turn left at the bottom of the long downhill straight, just before the righthand bend to Norris Gully.

 

Norris Gully Reserve

Located in Norris Gully on the southern side of Spooners Saddle, a few kilometres from the southern portal of Spooners Tunnel. There is unlimited parking here.

 

The trail is regularly marked with blue plastic posts and informative signs.

Description

At Wakefield, the trail heads west from the Edward St-SH6 intersection to Wai-iti River Bridge, where it goes off-road and follows the true left of Wai-iti River to a bridge just downstream of Hoult Valley Rd. From Hoult Valley Rd the trail runs alongside SH6 for 1.6 km to Wai-iti Domain. At Wai-iti Domain, the trail heads along the true right of Wai-iti River for several kilometres before joining Quail Valley Rd and following it to SH6. The trail crosses SH6 (take care when crossing), goes over Pretty Bridge Stream and reaches Belgrove Tavern.

 

From Belgrove, the trail follows the northbound lane of SH6 for a few hundred metres before crossing to the other side (take care when crossing). The trail continues alongside the southbound lane, crossing Wai-iti Valley Road (the main road to Nelson Lakes) and joins the former rail alignment at Tunnel Road (a forestry road). Tunnel Road deviates from the highway and heads up Railway Gully. The road has a very gentle uphill gradient as it heads up the gully. The northern tunnel portal is 4.5 km up Tunnel Road.

 

The tunnel slopes slightly upward from north to south. There is no lighting so you will need a torch or headlight to see where you’re going. The temperature in the tunnel can be much cooler than outside, and there can be a draft as cool air drains toward the northern end. Pack an extra layer just in case.

 

At the southern portal the trail continues to SH6, crosses it (take care when crossing), and enters Norris Gully Reserve. It then goes beneath a state highway bridge to emerge next to the southbound lane, where it continues along the old rail alignment for 6 km to Kohatu. There is another state highway crossing approx. 2.5 km from Kohatu which requires care. This section of the Great Taste Trail ends at Flat Rock Cafe, at the SH6-Motueka Valley Highway intersection.

 

Note that the Great Taste Trail does continue beyond Kohatu towards Tapawera, though part of this section is still under construction.

Short Walks

  /  

Day Walks

  /  

Tramping

  /  

Biking

Wakefield to Kohatu
Great Taste Trail

The Wai-iti to Kohatu section of Tasman’s Great Taste Trail features the historic Spooners Railway Tunnel, which was once used on the Nelson-Glenhope Railway. The 1.35 km-long tunnel was completed in 1893 and was open up until 1955, when the railway was decommissioned. The tunnel lay mostly unused for 60 years until it was re-opened in 2016 to become part of the Great Taste Trail. The tunnel is the focal-point of this section.

Details
Length26.8 km one way Wakefield to Kohatu; 18.9 km one way Wakefield to southern tunnel portal; 7.9 km one way southern tunnel portal to Kohatu
Time Required1 hr 30 min – 2 hr one way Wakefield to Kohatu (biking)
Trail TypeShared track
Physical DifficultyEasy   
Technical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionEither
NoteThere is no lighting in the tunnel; make sure you bring a decent headlight or torch

If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

 
 
 

Access

  25 min from central Nelson (Wakefield) | 45 min from central Nelson (Kohatu)

 

The northern end of this section of the Great Taste Trail begins at Wakefield, 15 km south of Richmond along State Highway 6 (SH6). It is a direct continuation of the Richmond to Wakefield section of the trail. The southern end is at Kohatu, (next to Flat Rock Cafe), which is 30 min south of Nelson along SH6.

 

If you’re coming specifically to ride through Spooners Tunnel, Wai-iti Domain, Belgrove and the southern tunnel are good places to park.

 

Wai-iti Domain

Wai-iti Domain is 6 km south of Wakefield along SH6, on the left side of the highway immediately before it crosses Wai-iti River. There is unlimited parking here.

 

Belgrove

On the left side of SH6, directly opposite Belgrove Tavern, there is a parking area next to the historic Belgrove Windmill. Parking here is limited; on weekdays, only a handful of spaces are available. On weekends and public holidays only a larger part of the area is open for parking, though this is still limited to around 50 spaces. This is the closest place you can park to the northern portal of the tunnel.

 

Southern Tunnel Portal


There is a parking area a few hundred metres from the southern end of the tunnel. On the southern side of Spooners Saddle, turn left at the bottom of the long downhill straight, just before the righthand bend to Norris Gully.

 

Norris Gully Reserve

Located in Norris Gully on the southern side of Spooners Saddle, a few kilometres from the southern portal of Spooners Tunnel. There is unlimited parking here.

 

The trail is regularly marked with blue plastic posts and informative signs.

Description

At Wakefield, the trail heads west from the Edward St-SH6 intersection to Wai-iti River Bridge, where it goes off-road and follows the true left of Wai-iti River to a bridge just downstream of Hoult Valley Rd. From Hoult Valley Rd the trail runs alongside SH6 for 1.6 km to Wai-iti Domain. At Wai-iti Domain, the trail heads along the true right of Wai-iti River for several kilometres before joining Quail Valley Rd and following it to SH6. The trail crosses SH6 (take care when crossing), goes over Pretty Bridge Stream and reaches Belgrove Tavern.

 

From Belgrove, the trail follows the northbound lane of SH6 for a few hundred metres before crossing to the other side (take care when crossing). The trail continues alongside the southbound lane, crossing Wai-iti Valley Road (the main road to Nelson Lakes) and joins the former rail alignment at Tunnel Road (a forestry road). Tunnel Road deviates from the highway and heads up Railway Gully. The road has a very gentle uphill gradient as it heads up the gully. The northern tunnel portal is 4.5 km up Tunnel Road.

 

The tunnel slopes slightly upward from north to south. There is no lighting so you will need a torch or headlight to see where you’re going. The temperature in the tunnel can be much cooler than outside, and there can be a draft as cool air drains toward the northern end. Pack an extra layer just in case.

 

At the southern portal the trail continues to SH6, crosses it (take care when crossing), and enters Norris Gully Reserve. It then goes beneath a state highway bridge to emerge next to the southbound lane, where it continues along the old rail alignment for 6 km to Kohatu. There is another state highway crossing approx. 2.5 km from Kohatu which requires care. The trail ends at Flat Rock Cafe, at the SH6-Motueka Valley Highway intersection.

 

Note that the Great Taste Trail does continue beyond Kohatu towards Tapawera, though part of this section is still under construction.

Connections

Dovedale Saddle

MTB and trail running

Golden Downs Trail (Heartland Ride)

Cycling

Motueka Valley

Cycling

Updated 4 December 2019