- Landmarks & Hotspots
Spooners Tunnel is one of the key highlights along Tasman’s Great Taste Trail. At 1.4km long, the tunnel is the longest decommissioned rail tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere, with the cycle trail following the route of the old railway line through Norris Gully.
Originally built in 1891, the tunnel was dug by hand with two groups of men working at each end to meet in the middle, and was a crucial connection between Nelson and Glenhope for 79 years. The intention was to eventually link Nelson with the West Coast, but the tunnel was never connected to the national rail network and closed in 1955, before reopening to cyclists and walkers a few years back.
It’s a dark, quiet and chilly ride in the tunnel, so you’ll want to have a jumper and a torch with you. The tunnel exits into an easy downhill descent to Belgrove, where you can see the historic railway windmill, one of only two left in New Zealand.
How to get there: Spooners Tunnel is located on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail between Kohatu and Wakefield.
Photo credits: George Guille Media