The Godzone adventure race is underway from Aoraki Mount Cook to Queenstown.
A total of 140 competitors set off a 6am this morning from The Hermitage base building at New Zealand’s highest mountain.
Team Seagate led at the six-hour mark with Wanaka multi-sporter Dougal Allan’s team Harraway Oats in second.
The teams will spend the next four-to-six days racing across 514kms of mountains, glaciers, lakes and backcountry.
The final leg will see teams race along the Queenstown Trail through to Shotover Canyon Swing – where they choose to swing or take a two-hour penalty.
“This is a great twist to the race at the end of the journey,” race director Adam Fairmaid says.
“We expect some individuals will be pretty scared and maybe won’t want to take the swing option. It’s going to be really interesting watching team dynamics if one team member is reluctant.”
The teams – including – received their maps en-route to Mt Cook yesterday afternoon and quickly set about planning their week-long route.
“Stage one starts with some alpine mountaineering,” Fairmaid says yesterday.
“The teams head up from The Hermitage to Annette Plateau on Mt Cook where they will traverse over glaciers on fixed ropes using ice axes and crampons before heading to the Mueller Hut and back down to Lake Tasman.
“They paddle amongst icebergs on the moraine lake then head down challenging white water on the Tasman River to Lake Pukaki and on to Braemar Station where they will transfer to their bikes. By night fall some of the lead teams will be on a night trek over into the Dingle Burn mountain range in the Ahuriri Valley.”
The course then heads to Passburn on the south side of the Lindis Pass where competitors transition to bikes and cycle over Mt Grand then onward to Albert Town near Wanaka with a kayak leg on the Clutha River and Lake Dunstan to Lowburn near Cromwell.
Teams will then enter the final stages of the race over the Pisa Mountain range to the Snowpark Lodge where they will transition to their bikes for a fast leg down to Arrowtown.