This would have been such a great stage if Mount Hercules hadn’t got in the way. But you know what they say: “Hercules by name, Hercules by nature” so there’s only one thing for it: you’ve got to climb that hill. Actually it’s not that bad (joke): it’s a five hundred foot climb in two miles. Aye, that’ll do some damage, right enough.
Anyway, to the rollout: it’s a flat/gently descending six mile wander north along the Whataroa Highway, with Rotokino Road running parallel with the highway, between it and the splitting of the Whataroa River (into many smaller streams). The road crosses Little Man River at three miles then carries on minding its own business until the left hander adjacent to the ridge coming down off the hill on the right at six miles. That’s where the fun starts.
The climb is steep and becoming increasingly steeper as the road zigzags its way around the hairpin bends approaching the summit of Mount Hercules. White Heron Lagoon is visible out to the west at seven miles and a mile after that the road goes over the top of the hill, about three hundred feet below the summit of the mountain. Once over the top, the road bends right at nine miles as it plummets sharply down the other side of the valley.
Route 6 crosses Poerua River at eleven miles at the start of a long left hander, then a mile further on the road hangs a right to run along the foot of the ridge that looks down on the community of Hari Hari. On approach to the town, at thirteen miles, the road begins to rise again, and that gentle gradient carries on to the crossing of Wanganui River at eighteen miles where the road hangs a sharp left to begin a straight three mile descent north to the finish line beneath Mount Ashmore in the flood plain of the Wanganui.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 797 feet / 243 metres
RGT Magic Road: 4oMu9lUz3AER
Max elevation: 670 ft
Min elevation: 129 ft
Total climbing: 797 ft
Total descent: -892 ft
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