Great Taste Trail: Richmond to Mapua
The Richmond to Mapua section of the Great Taste Trail follows the coastline of Waimea Inlet, the largest estuary in the South Island, takes in the beachfront of Rabbit Island and finishes with a ferry ride to Mapua. Known as the Coastal Route, it is particularly stunning at high tide. The majority of the trail is completely off-road and is unsealed for its entire length, except for several sections of boardwalk as the trail crosses parts of the inlet. The trail is very popular among cyclists, walkers and runners, and its flat gradient makes it enjoyable for people of all abilities.
Note: This section of the Great Taste Trail suffered significant damage in the recent (February 2018) storm event. Check the Tasman District Council website for updates
As it links directly to Nelson’s network of urban routes, namely Whakatu Coastal Pathway and Railway Reserve Pathway, most Nelson residents can access the trail directly from home with little on-road travel.
For those who want to park their car to complete a there-and-back journey, there are car parks at Sandeman Road, Champion Road, Saxton Field, Point Road (Monaco) and Nelson airport; all of the latter locations provide suitable starting points, depending on how long you want your trip to be (see Access tab above).
The trail is a continuation of Whakatu Coastal Pathway, and begins soon after the Reservoir Creek underpass beneath Richmond Deviation, adjacent to Tasman Aquatic Centre. The first two kilometres follow the coastline around the back of Richmond’s industrial area and the racecourse. Along this section there is access to Beach Road, Headingly Lane and Sandeman Rd. Nelson Pine industries is passed after five kilometres and Ravensdown Fertiliser store after six kilometres.
The remaining 1.2 km distance to Best Island Road features sections of boardwalk across the inlet. The trail turns south at Best Island Road and then west onto Lower Queen street; this is the longest section directly open to the road, though neither road is particularly busy. At the end of Lower Queen Street the trail follows a stop bank to C.B. Kidson Bridge, which crosses Waimea River.
The trail passes the end of Cotterell Road and runs through farmland for 1.9 km to Redwood Road (the road to Rabbit Island). It crosses the pedestrian bridge attached to the road bridge to Rough Island and then the causeway to Rabbit Island. For the next 1.6 km it runs alongside plantation forest on the left side of the Ken Beck Drive before reaching Rabbit Island beachfront. The trail follows the beachfront road west through plantation forest to the western end of the island and the tidal channel, on the other side of which is Mapua. A ferry operates seasonally between Rabbit Island and Mapua; timetable and fare information can be found on the Mapua Ferry website
Be aware that there are few amenities along the trail between Richmond and Mapua. There are toilet facilities at the end of Sandeman Road and at the Rabbit Island beachfront. There are also drinking water taps at Rabbit Island. There are no cafes or shops until Mapua.