Here’s another great descending stage: until you get to fifteen miles that is, when the stage turns round and bites you in the bum. It runs north/north west about twenty five miles west of Lake Rotorua from Tokoroa in the south to Tirau in the north. It’s downhill all the way to Putaruru then uphill from there to a mile from the finish.
But first: the rollout. State Highway 1 starts descending straight out of the pen and continues in that vein through the town centre of Tokoroa. There’s a blip in the downward progress as the road passes through the suburb of Parkdale, but by the time the road crosses Pokaiwhenua Stream at four miles, normal service is resumed on the downhill front.
The gradient is never steep but as the road meanders left then right on repeat, the highway loses two hundred feet of elevation between miles four and fifteen. It’s at Putaruru at fifteen miles that everything changes. The descent accelerates on reaching the town but it bottoms out at the cemetery opposite the Lorraine Moller Reserve and a steady incline kicks in instead.
The road weaves right/left/right as it leaves town and passes the junction with State Highway 28 (known locally as Whites Road) at sixteen miles. Immediately after the junction, the road swings left and although the gradient flattens out, the climb doesn’t finish until the intersection with State Highway 5 on the approach to Tirau. After the junction and over the top of the climb, the road snakes left and right to the finish in the middle of the town.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 295 feet / 90 metres
RGT Magic Road: dx6Dwgf6zerW
Max elevation: 832 ft
Min elevation: 499 ft
Total climbing: 296 ft
Total descent: -488 ft
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