New Zealand is more than the land of the long white cloud – it's also the land of the long cycling holiday. Or short cycling holiday.
Whether an amber ale, wheat bier or an IPA is your favourite, McCashin’s have you covered. The menu was also done right and everyone was satisfied with their meals and accompanying taste-board of beer. Shared, of course, since we had the rest of the rail trail to conquer yet!
Their simple, dark interior is a sure sign to the rest of the world that New Zealand can compete with the rest of the world; whether it be cycling, a great feed, or a stylish brewery. Staff at the brewery were keen to give us the tour and brewery experience, and were quick to let us know about their sugar-free, sulphite-free offerings. There was certainly something for to suit everyone’s tastes.
A few chicken burgers and a pot of mussels devoured, and with satisfied stomachs, it was time to press on; this time along the Coastal side of the GTT.
Down the Rabbit Hole…
Heading towards Richmond, we took the Coastal route to Mapua, around a 20km trip from the brewery. The GTT features multiple boardwalk sections looking out across the water, and this would be a good section to complete with a group or family. There are plenty of places to take in the scenery, and as we head towards Rabbit Island, we begin to ride through some rural pastureland in addition to the coastal beauty we have already experienced.
Large inquisitive doe-eyed cows come across to say hello as we scoot past on the trail. This section of the GTT is predominantly a separate bike path away from the road; featuring only a couple of short road sections, and is predominantly flat.
Coming towards Rabbit Island we experience a suspension bridge swaying slowly in the wind, and once again the terrain and nature changes. Rows of pine forest greet us as we cross the bridge to the island, as fellow rider and Sydney ex-patriot (now Nelson local) Zoe King explains that the island is a getaway destination, and for public holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day it can get incredibly busy.
The island itself is 8km long, and is home to mountain bike tracks, squirrelled away in the pine forest we ride past, and also hosts a huge equestrian centre. Today we take our cyclocross bikes right to the beach, which rivals any in Australia in terms of beauty. Stopping for a breather, a quick bottle refill, and some photos, we continue along the length of the island towards Mapua Ferry.