La Velocita's Brendan Edwards recently traveled to New Zealand & discovered a magical climb heading out of New Zealand’s most famous attraction; Milford Sound.
Milford Sound is a Fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. It runs 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 1,200 metres or more on either side. It is located within the Fiordland National Park which is a World Heritage listed site, and is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination.
There's an amazing Category 1, 9.1km climb, at an average of 8% heading out from Milford Sound. It's a tough climb which offers numerous challenges along the way, with gradients peaking at 14%. Although quite difficult, the higher you climb the more stunning the scenery becomes.
The climb takes you through stunning rainforest, as you follow the Cledau River, and the whole climb is dominated by massive cliffs to either side of the road. This climb takes you through the Fiordland National Park which is New Zealand’s largest National Park.
As you hit the steepest section, there is a 2km section of switchbacks in an amazing valley. I can guarantee that you won't be traveling very quickly and will be grinding away in your lowest gear which, at least, will give you the opportunity to appreciate the scenery around you.
Not many riders have ever attempted this climb, and you could be easily mistaken thinking that you were climbing one of the grand European climbs given the stunning scenery. New Zealand is more known for its world class Mountain Biking, but for those that love their climbing it has a magnificent selection of climbs all throughout. Just be sure to prepare for some extreme weather on this one, even during summer!
Milford Sound may seem a world away, but then again its always good to dream......