You’re going to love the start of this stage. You might not be so keen on the rest of it once you hit the five mile mark, but the first three miles in particular are a whole heap of fun: just don’t burn all your matches in those first ten minutes: you’ll need some of them later on. The route is north west up the middle of the North Island between Lake Taupo and Lake Tarawera, albeit about twenty five miles from either of them.
The rollout is flat for all of thirty seconds before the first descent kicks in: and it’s the biggest and longest of the stage. Hammering downhill at a rate of knots, the road weaves between hills left and right before a short rise to the Ohakuri Road junction at four miles. But don’t despair because as the road swings left after the junction, the descent kicks in again, eventually bottoming out at Atiamuri as five miles. There, State Highway 1 crosses the Waikato River before rising gently to the Beez Neez Lodge at nine miles.
Straight after the lodge, State Highway 30 heads off north east to Rotorua which sits on the southern shore of – wait for it – Lake Rotorua. After the junction, Route 1 swings left/north west, climbing gently over a bunch of hills to the junction with the old Highway 1 at fourteen miles. That signals the start of a lumpy descent back down the hill which swings left and right on its way to Kinleith at seventeen miles. Kinleith is prominent for Tokoroa Golf Course on the way into town and the Jim Currie garden reserve on the way out of town. Just before the entrance to the reserve, the road crosses Matarawa Stream which flows east-west at that point.
From Kinleith, it’s a gentle up/down to the finish: a mile and a half up then a mile and a half down on the approach into Tokoroa which hosts the start of start 476.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 361 feet / 110 metres
RGT Magic Road: B0eKEMX67Fzc
Max elevation: 1487 ft
Min elevation: 833 ft
Total climbing: 360 ft
Total descent: -1014 ft
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