Cycling Summit Road East
Ride 22 kilometers gaining 803 meters at 2.8% average grade (5% climb only).
Start climb in Little River (2018 pop. 279)
First third of the climb.
Climb report by PJAMM’s Brad Butterfield.
The Summit Road East climb begins in the tiny town of Little River - although I think most towns in this part of New Zealand can accurately be described as ‘tiny.’ In Little River you’ll find a really cool ‘Silo Hotel’ and a neat Cafe among a few small storefronts.
Heading out of town are a number of large properties. Here the gradient is very mellow. The gradients kick up as the houses fade from view. The first half of the Summit Road climb follows the main highway which connects Little River to Akaroa. On the day I rode there was a steady flow of traffic and I think that can be expected on most days. About halfway up, after dealing with some steep and winding road, you’ll fork left onto the ‘Summit Road’ itself. It is well marked and impossible to miss. From here it is a rollercoaster to the finish. There are many brutal double digit pitches followed by small descents that continue up until the summit point.
After the turn on the summit road there are nearly constant views of the incredible light blue bay below. While it is not the most difficult climb, it is well worth the ride for the unforgettable -and distinctly Kiwi- postcard scenery for the duration.
Stunning views of Akaroa Harbour and Onawe Peninsula.