In 1000 Ultimate Adventures, Lonely Planet’s third book in the 1000 Ultimate… series, we list the Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge in Australia as one of the world’s best adventure races. This epic, multi-day, multi-discipline race is Aussie Formula 1 driver Mark Webber’s major fundraising event for the year, and takes place in one of the most beautiful corners of the world: Australia’s island-state of Tasmania.
Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain. Image c/o Tourism Tasmania & Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography.
Competitors in teams of two or three cover more than 350km during the five-day course, by mountain bike, kayak and foot – and, just in case anyone’s feeling a little too relaxed, ‘special disciplines’ are thrown at the teams to take them out of their comfort zones, such as white-water rafting and abseiling. So, when the opportunity arose for Lonely Planet staff to really bring 1000 Ultimate Adventures to life, we couldn’t wait to step into the breach. We’ve each been to Tassie before, and experienced a little of what it has to offer – from trekking the Overland Track, to flying in a sea plane down the Franklin River – but this new adventure is going to be a different experience entirely.
Although we’re both life-long sports lovers, this is going to be our first adventure race.
Georgie and David training in You Yangs National Park, Victoria. Image c/o Georgie Leslie / Lonely Planet.
It’s quickly become apparent that reading blogs from previous years’ Webber Challenges, as well as interviews with our future race rivals, isn’t the best way to instil confidence in two newbies. Comments from professional (read: Olympic) athletes along the lines of ‘it’s going to hurt but I just want to complete it’ spurred us into a six-days-a-week training regime of running, cycling and kayaking, with gym sessions and crash-courses in navigation thrown in for good measure. And we’ve each eaten a large amount of food. An embarrassingly large amount of food.
Strahan village and waterfront, Tasmania. Image c/o Tourism Tasmania & Dan Fellow.
Now it’s crunch-time. We fly to Launceston today (Tuesday 26 November), and tomorrow the racing commences. Over the next five days we’ll be covering approximately 70-80km a day (that’s assuming we don’t get lost…) around areas like Strahan and Cradle Mountain, with the final day taking place in the vicinity of Hobart. One of Tasmania’s local beers at the iconic Henry Jones Art Hotel is definitely going to be needed by the time we cross the finish line on Sunday! Check in to this blog to see our updates and photos as we complete the challenge, and if you’re in Hobart on Sunday, please come along and cheer us down the home-straight.
David Gorvett and Georgie Leslie work in Lonely Planet’s Asia …read more