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Stage 438 – Mount Michael to Tarras

The main feature of stage 438 is a long run up the western side of Lake Dunstan, which almost guarantees some sense of calm, albeit lumpy calm, before a climb away from the lake at the back end of the stage. Cromwell, which sits at the southern end of the lake, plays host to the meeting of the Kawaura River from the west, and the Clutha River from the east, and together, Lake Dunstan and the Kawaura River provide the water that drives the Clyde Hydro Electric Powerhouse twenty miles to the south east down the Clutha River.

But before the stage reaches Cromwell, it has to deal with the rollout. The road climbs to one mile before descending to three miles. Then there’s another climb from Kawarau Gorge that takes a short cut around the inside of the Highlands Motorsport Park while the river takes the longer, flatter route around the far side. Into Cromwell itself at seven miles, the road descends down to the water’s edge on Lake Dunstan then picks up the western shore as the A6, which has now become the Luggate Cromwell Road, heads north.

Past Lowburn at ten miles and Cromwell Airfield at eleven miles, the road begins to deviate away from the lake at Pisa Moorings on twelve miles. Inevitably, that means a climb, and although the gradient is forgiving and lumpy at first, by the time the road meets the Clutha River north of the lake at nineteen miles, the respite that the river provides is the only relief on the climb to the end of the stage.

The finish itself is about three miles to the west of Tarras where the river flows between the route 6 on the west bank and route 8A on the east bank. The climb eventually tops out at twenty miles and the final two miles to the line are lumpy flat on an open plain.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 1073 feet / 327 metres

RGT Magic Road: wPz0wHTSyYHz

Total distance: 21.92 mi
Max elevation: 884 ft
Min elevation: 538 ft
Total climbing: 1072 ft
Total descent: -854 ft

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