Cycle Beautiful Rabbit IslandThis is an easy family-friendly bike ride on the Rabbit Island cycle trail. Take a picnic for lunch on the long, white sand beach.
This is a cruisey way to enjoy some lazy beach time, take a little exercise and enjoy some of Tasman Bay’s most gorgeous seascapes. To make the cycle hire easy, start and finish from the small village of Mapua, nestled on the banks of the Waimea Estuary. At the new, but historic, Mapua Wharf there are bike hire companies who can kit you out with cycle, helmet and trail map. Also at Mapua wharf is a choice of boutique cafes offering delicious home made lunch treats and amazing coffees, local artisan shops and even a boutique brewery Golden Bear Brewing for craft beers. The wharf area is a great place to relax in the sun and watch the comings and goings of cyclists and local kids fishing in the tidal estuary entrance.
A ferry service operates on the hour from Mapua Wharf to the drop off beach on Rabbit Island. The ferry crossing for you and your bike takes only a few scenic minutes, then you are on the island and on your way. The cycle trail basically loops the island, although at times some of the trails, which double as forestry roads, can be closed to cyclists if there are vehicles operating in the area. The ferry skipper will advise you of any closed trails. Otherwise, it’s easy to follow the markers through the forest and along the beach trail to the northern side of the island where you’ll find shady picnic areas, a long white sandy beach for safe and very pleasant swimming. What better way to cool off after a few kilometres of cycling? To return to Mapua, simply meet the ferry at the designated beach pick up point.
The Rabbit Island cycle trail is mainly hard packed earth, with the occasional sandy pocket, very family friendly, uncrowded and an absolutely delightful day out.
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What a pleasure to explore Christchurch from such classy accommodation; we walked everywhere first, and then took a tram to see the rest. I took lots of photos, and we were both so impressed by the ingenuity and spirit of Christchurch since the earthquakes. Such a delightfully funky place you have there.
Each place we stayed was really comfortable and perfectly located. We loved Lake Ohau Lodge and the delicious meals and interesting people we met at dinner. They run a wonderful lodge there, and I’m so glad you managed to book us in, because we otherwise wouldn’t have experienced it. What a gorgeous part of the world! We had great weather, so that we could visit Mt. Cook and explore the surrounding lakes and wonders.
Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad by the time we got to Dunedin, and we weren’t able to do any sightseeing around there, but on the plus side - staying in such a central location meant we were smack in the middle of the cafes, bars, galleries and shops. Good coffee and great food (and a little retail therapy), so no regrets!
The weather cleared in Te Anau and we did the magical glow worm tour that evening. We then had the most utterly perfect day for our full-day trip to Milford Sound, which was the highlight of our holiday. The places we visited before we got to Milford Sound were new to me (I’d been to NZ 25 years ago) and shown to us by our guide who’s a local guy full of knowledge and passion. We learned so much and had a truly memorable day. I highly highly recommend Fiordland Tours in Te Anau, and their driver, Ray. He’s a absolute legend!
Queenstown was lovely, but… mental. SO busy, with traffic gridlocks and we’ll certainly keep that in mind for next time.
It was an easy walk into the town centre from our hotel, but a killer uphill slog coming back, so we had our evening meals and drinks next door at the Copthorne, which had a charge-back deal with the Garden Apartments. Copthorne’s restaurant was really nice, with lovely views, super-friendly staff and reasonable prices.
Our car was a pleasure to drive, as were the staff at ‘both ends’ of Go Rentals. Their customer service and business operation is refreshing. I even downloaded some of their driving playlists from Spotify.
Once again, thank you! If you would like to use any of these comments in reviews or publicity, feel free. Or I can do a separate edited version if you like.
P & J, Australia - Feb 2018
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