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Stage 470 – Taihape to Lake Moawhango

Welcome to the daddy of the New Zealand stages of Around The World. Fresh from burning your legs on two thousand footers in a row, stage 470 trumps the lot by piling another seventeen hundred feet on top of the previous painfest to finish the stage at over three thousand feet. It’s a stage that’s as unrelenting as it is difficult, and perhaps not unsurprisingly, it finishes just a few miles from the Waiouru Army Training Area high in the mountains above Lake Moawhango.

But first, the rollout, because that’s one of the easier parts of the stage. Out of the start gate, it’s slightly downhill for a mile until the crossing of the Hautapu River. Riding away from water invariably means a climb, and this one is no exception. It’s gentle at first as the road swings past the Taihape golf course but that’s merely the warmup act for the five hundred feet of ascent between miles three and four. Interestingly enough, it will feel like the hard work’s been done as the road curves a left at Spooners Hill Road at four miles because the six miles of climbing that follow on from the junction just aren’t in the same league as what went before.

Having wandered away to the west (left), the Hautapu River comes back into play not one, not twice but three times either side of seven miles, the road crossing the river on each occasion as it (the river) meanders wildly on its journey south (you’re heading north). The summit of that slog is at twelve miles where the road meets the Hautapu River again, but without crossing it on this occasion.

There’s then what’s arguably the flattest section of the stage between miles twelve and eighteen as State Highway 1 passes through Waiouru followed by the campsites of Helwan and Abbassia in quick succession. The flatness is interrupted straight after Abbassia Camp as the road dips briefly before kicking on up again at eighteen miles. With Karioi Forest to the west (left) and Lake Moawhango to the east (right), the highway approaches the finish on the close to the access road that runs down to the lake.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 1775 feet / 541 metres

RGT Magic Road: 33Jnzjy6k6j3

Total distance: 20.43 mi
Max elevation: 3141 ft
Min elevation: 1753 ft
Total climbing: 1775 ft
Total descent: -443 ft

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