Stage 440 is a lumpy downhiller between two lakes: Hawea and Wanaka. It would be easy to assume that because the first half of the stage runs up the (western) side of one of them and the end of the stage runs up the (eastern) side of the other one, that the terrain would be relative flat but sadly that’s not the case. And you’ve to get over the hill that sits between them, so all in all this is a challenging stage. But is does offer two hundred feet more of descent than it does of ascent.
The rollout from the town Lake Hawea sets off up the western shore of the lake of the same name. It’s down/up/down for the first couple of miles before a longer climb kicks in as the road navigates its way up the hillside that overlooks the water. Then the road drops back down to the lakeside, which it reaches by six miles, before a more testing climb starts at eight miles: it tops out at the highest elevation of the stage, again looking down over the water at nearly fifteen hundred feet, just after eight miles.
The road then follows a finger shaped lip of the lake that heads out west towards Lake Wanaka, meandering along what is now the southern shore: the road remains lumpy flat for all of this section. The segment of road between the two lakes is relatively short – less than two miles – but it necessitates a climb that descends four hundred feet on the other side. I think it’s fair to assume that Lake Hawea sits higher than Lake Wanaka.
The rest of the stage – about four miles of it – is relatively uneventful. Route 6 passes by a number of lookout posts as it makes its way north along the lakeside and although there’s a gentle lumpy climb from miles eighteen to twenty one, it’s not on the same scale as what has gone before. The end of the stage is a mile past the Boundary Creek Campsite near the top end of the lake.
Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres
Ascent: 1594 feet / 486 metres
RGT Magic Road: DbM74bvJHIxm
Max elevation: 1449 ft
Min elevation: 939 ft
Total climbing: 1595 ft
Total descent: -1775 ft
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