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Stage 460 – Wairau River Crossing to Wairau Valley

Wobbly straightish, downhill, north east and following a big bunch of water: that’s the summary version of stage 460. The reality is that it starts a mile west of Wash Bridge, crosses the Wairau River then runs along the south bank of the river for twenty one miles: and it manages lose seven hundred feet of elevation in that time with less than two hundred feet to tax your legs going up ther way. This stage is a flyer.

The rollout is gently downhill immediately before the road snakes right and left over the river just after a mile. At three miles route 63 passes by the Kowhai Point Campsite and while the road keeps going relatively straight from that point, the river narrows so there’s as much as a quarter of a mile between the two at the three mile mark. Once the river widens again, the road runs close to the river bank until the crossing of Branch River: it flows into the Wairau River to the north (left) of the bridge.

Argyle Stream is next on the agenda, and the river crosses it after eight miles. The stream flows east from the Argyle Power House on the south side of the river, north of the reservoir at Argyle Pond. Straight after the Power House, there’s the inconvenience of a short up and down as the road navigates over a ridge that cuts north towards the Warau River: with so little land to play with, the climb is unavoidable unfortunately. As the road continues to descend, water is the main attraction. The road crosses Bankhouse Stream at fourteen miles and the Wye River a mile later.

After the Wye River, it’s straight and gently downhill all the way to the finish. Boundary Stream does approach the road just before the finishing line but the road doesn’t need to cross it: for that privilege you have to wait until the start of stage 461.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 210 feet / 64 metres

RGT Magic Road: VMzasiq9We6u

Total distance: 21.94 mi
Max elevation: 1473 ft
Min elevation: 737 ft
Total climbing: 210 ft
Total descent: -946 ft

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