I've been to Nelson several times, cycled in the region quite a lot, but never cycled the city area. First ride in the South Island would be a cruise into town, from my Tahunanui Beach motel, and see where that led. Turned out, ~77km later, I would go quite far!
It was a lovely day, fine and warm, but noon before I got on the road. As the day would be mostly road riding I took the gravel bike, rather than MTB.
Followed the bike path to Tahunanui Beach, just to see where it went, before heading into the city.
The SH6 ride is mostly on roadside cycle lane but nearer the town centre changes to dedicated paths. I followed one inland along the Maitai River.
Several bike paths pass through Nelsons town centre and past the 'iconic' Civic House.
Once a Post Office, this 70s Ministry of Works design has the dubious honour of being one of NZ's ugliest buildings. It had to incorporate the clock tower from a previous Post Office (as seen in this article) but even butchered that; just clock faces and mechanism surviving.
The 'Centre of New Zealand'
I rode to the top of Botanical Hill in the middle of the Botanical Gardens. It's a steep, very in parts, 173m trail climb to nice views over Nelson.
View East towards Maitai River Valley.
The summit has a Centre of New Zealand Monument marking the base point of an 1870s NZ survey rather than the actual geographic centre. The centre of a NZ land sized bounding box, excluding Chatham Island, is about 45km Southwest (at 41deg. 30min S., 172deg. 50min E) in the Spooners Range, Golden Downs Forest, near Kohatu. Measure another way, continental shelf, and it's in the Wairarapa northwest of Greytown. I took a photo of the survey mark (below left) but there were several groups doing selfies at the monument so left them to it.
Despite the subtle dot tread these 30mm Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres (below right) proved to be surprisingly capable on gravel. They are faster on tarmac than more knobbly gravel tyres or Marathon+ touring tyres.
Followed the bike path/lane North alongside SH6 to check out the Boulder Bank.
This ~13km long Boulder Bank looks like a man-made breakwater but is natural, and still a bit of a mystery (see YouTube below). It's too rocky for the gravel bike but would be a neat, if long, hike.
Cable Bay and Pepin Island
I headed further North to Cable Bay and Pepin Island. SH6 (Wakapuaka Rd) was quite busy but had shoulders or passing lanes on the uphill sections so not too bad for riding.
Once on Cable Bay Rd there was little traffic. It's a nice country/coast ride with views over Delaware Bay.
Cable Bay was quite busy, had intended swimming but didn't in the end. Had a snack, was carrying fruit and ANZAC biscuits, before heading back.
Pepin Island, at the end of the beach and connected by a causeway, is a private sheep station but does offer 'Hut Stay' accommodation.
Back on SH6 I turned left to Hira, an ice-cream at the store cooled 'the engine' before heading back to Nelson.
It's the traditional 'everything' country store, love their 'Happy Hira-Days" hand-painted sign.
It was cooling down as clouds blew in. Although a busy highway there's cycle lane/path from around Marybank back to Nelson.
These kites at Neale Park were making the most of the strengthening breeze.
Purely by chance I got to Ruby’s Espresso Airstream Caravan, at Nelson Marina, just in time for a coffee before they closed for the day. This view from Akersten Reserve Foreshore looks back North to where I'd been riding.
This art decorates a Nelson Power building on the waterfront on the way back to Tahunanui Beach. The forecast for tomorrow isn't great, had hoped to do a mountain bike trail in the hills but will see how it looks.