Kiwis like to fit a lot into their time off.
They are always on the go and looking to try something new, so this might explain the huge number of multisport events around the country. It's a great way to take in New Zealand's awesome vistas, as a team and at pace.
Since the 1980s, Aotearoa New Zealand has been the home of world-famous events, such as the Coast to Coast and Godzone but also the world's best adventure racers.
"World's toughest racer" Nathan Fa'avae is a famous face in the sport.
He has captained team New Zealand to victory in six world championships and, in 2019, brought home gold in the Eco Challenge Fiji or the "World's Toughest Race".
The Bear Grylls television series following their journey helped popularise the niche NZ sport around the world.
"So many people are signing up for adventure events. Having the borders restricted seems to be shifting peoples focus to what to do in New Zealand," Fa'ave says. "It's great."
Having competed in 30 different countries, New Zealand is still his favourite place to train and race.
Rather than solo endeavours, most races are team sports. Almost unique to adventure racing, competitive teams must be mixed of both male and female racers. Although, this year there are a number of women's only events, with Spirited Women and the Spring and Summer Challenges across Hawke's Bay and Te Anau.
"Forming teams is really about getting friends together with similar skill sets, and who want to share an adventure," he says. "I don't think there's any secret to a functioning team, it's about respect, trust, compassion, patience, support and encouragement, honesty and having fun."
Fun is an important part of the sport for more casual teams, who choose to focus more on the "Adventure" aspect, rather than the "Race".
Next year, Nathan is helping to launch the True West challenge in Franz Josef (truewest.nz). As race director, he has helped design a course that will showcase the wildest parts of the West Coast and challenge athletes - whether they're aiming for first place or 501st.
With three active teenage kids, he finds that even when not training or racing, outdoors is where they spend their time - exploring by foot, kayak and bike.
"Outdoors is my place."
Nathan Fa'avae's four top tips for Adventure Racing newbies:
◉ Learn the basics - "Key to get started in adventure racing is learning the core skills: mountain biking, kayaking, trail-running, hiking, and navigation."
◉ Head to the beach - "For kayaking, given most NZ'ers live on the coast, I recommend people start with a suitable surfski, and get paddling in the ocean, or lakes. When the time is right, transfer those skills to rivers."
◉ Get your bearings - "Navigation is best-learnt orienteering, and there are clubs throughout New Zealand providing events, so people should join their local club and learn map and compass."
◉ Get those steps in - "Tramping is the key for conditioning, heading into a hills with a heavy pack, that is money in the bank for Adventure Racing."
Adventure Race Calendar 2022/23
The GOAT, January 22, Ruapehu
You'll need to be as nimble as a mountain goat to conquer Ruapehu on this day race from Whakapapa to Turoa ski fields. Spectators can get a great view of the departing pack from the Sky Waka before meeting up post-race at the Powderkeg Bar or Kings in Ōhakune.
Long Course Weekend, February 5, Waikato
The Waikato's multi-day event invites athletes to compete in three disciplines over the February long weekend. Kiwis will be arriving in Cambridge to swim, bike and run Karāpiro. There's plenty of space to recuperate at the Hidden Lake Hotel, near the Good Union church-turned-craft-brewery.
Kathmandu Coast to Coast, February 11, West Coast
Since 1983, the C2C has been NZ's OG adventure race. Crossing the divide from the West Coast through to Christchurch's New Brighton Beach, more than 20,000 competitors have run, cycled and paddled their way across this 243km epic. The 2022 event is sold out so plan ahead to make sure you're in the running for 2023.
Spirited Woman, February 25, Hawke's Bay
In its seventh year, the all women's adventure race cuts through scenic Hawke's Bay, past the iconic rolling landscape. Having done the mahi, competitors (and spectators) can get some treats at Malo, the restaurant of Porters Boutique Hotel in Havelock North, and the adjoining Heretaunga Wine Studio.
Ring of Fire, March 12, Ruapehu
From the 6km Tussock Traverse through to the 73km Ring of Fire ultra marathon, the race takes runners through the volcanic heart of the Tongariro National Park.
With accommodation options through Chateau Tongariro Hotel, competitors can treat themselves to some regal luxury at race end. You've earned it.
Wild Kiwi, March 12, Northland
Crossing the coastal Whangārei Heads, this Northland adventure is a treat for racers and spectators. Covering what might be the country's toughest half marathon, there's a multi-sport element taking on the stunning coastline by Waka Ama and mountain bikes.
Summer Challenge, March 18, Tekapo
All the summer series of New Zealand's all women's event kayaking, coasteering and compass-free navigation around Lake Tekapo.
Volcanic Epic, March 24, Rotorua
Riding solo or as a pair, mountain bikers ride through 200km of the North Island's hottest geothermal territory on a multi-day adventure.
Mt Isobel Challenge, May 28, Hurunui
Push yourself to the limit running through Hanmer Forest and to the summit of Mt Isobel. Runners can reward themselves with a post-race soak and hydrotherapy at the Hanmer Springs hot pools and spa.
Spring Challenge, September 30, Hawke's Bay & Te Anau
Part of New Zealand's biggest all women's adventure race series, teams are led around the Fiordland and Hawke's Bay courses on 3, 6 and 9-hour events. E-Bikes and teams of all abilities are welcome on these two, world-class courses.
True West, December 1 2022, West Coast
A brand new race for New Zealand's adventure calendar, the True West leads through Franz Josef with 3, 6, 12 and 48-hour events. The World Series Final includes junior events, "achievable adventures" for all levels, and a serious challenge for those who need it in majestic glacier country. Afterwards, Waiho Hot Tubs or Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools are a great place to soak out the aches from this epic rainforest competition.
GeoQuest, January 20 2023, Hawke's Bay
The Aussie adventure series GeoQuest is expanding across the Tasman with a 48-hour endurance adventure in Hawke's Bay. Set to kick off in January 2023, there's plenty of time to train. Even if you're not competing, the GeoQuest will be one to watch.
"We expect there will be some great trans-Tasman rivalry, with the best Australian and Kiwi teams going head to head," says race designer and Wild&Co athlete Chris Dixon.
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