The route follows State Highway 2 from the Motu School. Competitors ride to Matawai Township on SH 2, turning right to Traffords Hill and the Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve. The reserve is a popular hunting and tramping area, with numerous historic sites including two bridges conserved by the Department of Conservation at Manganuku and Tauranga Valley. There are also numerous camping opportunities and short walks. The stage continues down the Waioeka Gorge to end at Oponae.