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Stage 473 – Oruatua to Taupo

Lake Taupo is a big lake, as evidenced by the fact that stage 473 runs up its eastern shore, having made a start at the bottom end on the previous stage, and it still doesn’t clear the top end of the lake. Taupo is a big bunch of water. But the good news, given that virtually the whole stage is spent hugging the water’s edge, is that it’s mainly flat: the only deviations away from that default are where the road requires to circumnavigate natural obstacles, of which there are a couple and they will test your legs to the max.

The rollout from outside “Tony’s Lodge” on the eastern side of Oruatua is flat through Te Rangiita after half a mile, Waitetoko at a mile and Motutere at four miles where the road swings right to follow the shoreline of the lake as it veers east/north easterly.

There’s an interruption to the calm nature of proceedings at five miles when the highway kicks upwards by nearly a hundred feet but the test is short and the road descends just as quickly as it has climbed. That heralds another section of serenity to eight miles where the road heads inland at Hatepe. The reason for the change of direction is geographical: high cliffs make it impossible to take a road over the top of the hill so State Highway 1 goes inland and round the back instead. That necessitates a four hundred foot climb between nine miles and ten miles and that’s guaranteed to burn your legs. The summit is around the sweeping left hander at ten miles which kicks off a four mile descent that’s gradual at first but which really gets its act together at twelve miles.

Once the road arrives back down at the lakeside at Waitahanui at fourteen miles, normal calm service is resumed for the next four miles. State Highway 1 crosses the Waitahanui River on the northern side of town before trundling along the waterside to Five Mile Bay at eighteen miles and that’s where the final piece of fun starts in the shape of a three mile climb to the finish.

The road swings right around the western side of Taupo Airport and that takes the road east and away from the lake. As the road climbs, it passes above the suburbs of Wharewaka and Rainbow Point which look down on the lake, before the stage finishes above and to the east of Richmond Heights.

Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres

Ascent: 922 feet / 281 metres

RGT Magic Road: lK4zVXN9iuIJ

Total distance: 20.44 mi
Max elevation: 1692 ft
Min elevation: 1206 ft
Total climbing: 922 ft
Total descent: -714 ft
Download file: Stage 473 - Around The World In 800 Days.gpx

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