And with a bit of a sting in the tail, that was the South Island of New Zealand. Stage 462 takes the last hop, skip and a jump over the hill to Picton and the ferry to the North Island where the climbing will start all over again. The stage is basically east to Spring Creek near the coast, hang a left to start heading north, then climb over the last remaining obstacle before making a flying descent down into Picton for the ferry. There are two ways of getting to Tuamarina on the north side of the Wairau River. One is to cross the river north of Renton then hang a right along the Kaituna-Tuamarine Road beneath the ridge of the mountains to the north: the other is not to cross the river at that point but to hang a right before the bridge and take Rapaura Road (Route 62) east to Spring Creek then head north and cross the river from there: that’s what Mark Beaumont did on his 2017 journey so that’s what Around The World is doing on this stage.
The rollout is flat but as soon as the road turns right after half a mile, the descent carries on from where it left off on stage 461. It descends all the way to Spring Creek which is entered on a right hand bend as the road flattens out. Past Spring Creek Holiday Park, Rapaura Road takes a sweeping left hander to join State Highway 1 heading north at nine miles. After crossing the Wairau River and scooting through Tuamarine, the highway hangs a right around the lip of the mountains to the south of Strachan Peak, and that’s the shape of things to come.
As the road winds its way up the valley, the Tuamarina River flows in the opposite direction away to the left, sitting in a flood plain that’s possibly half a mile wide. The highway passes below Strachan Peak out to the right at fourteen miles, and as the miles tick by, so the gradient increases. Picton Aerodrome is at seventeen miles, sitting adjacent to the road on its left hand side whilst on the other (right hand) side, the railway has trundled its way up the hill by taking the longer route around the steeper parts of the climb.
The route peaks at twenty miles and from there, it’s a fast descent down into Picton itself. The road leaves Route 1 at the roundabout around Nelson Square, taking Kent Street north instead of following Route 1 north east into the centre of town. The stage ends half a mile north of Nelson Square at the Bluebridge Ferry where Around The World jumps across to the North Island.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 456 feet / 139 metres
RGT Magic Road: RV03o4Rlxlbn
Max elevation: 338 ft
Min elevation: 73 ft
Total climbing: 455 ft
Total descent: -556 ft
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