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Chapter 12

Host Location

"All the organising team are extremely excited about visiting a completely new host location. Everyone will be familiar with the famous Marlborough Sounds which, are bound to feature in the course in some shape or form. However, it is the GODZONE way to get into some of the less-well travelled areas and this region is full of massive peaks, huge forests, wild rivers and vast tracts of land where people seldom tread. This will be another epic adventure for sure."

- Warren Bates (Event Creator)

Host Location - Marlborough

Marlborough is about world famous Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region, and the soils and enviable climate that create it. It’s about fresh seafood sought by the world’s finest chefs. It’s about diverse landscapes, from valleys of vines to sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds.

Drive 20 minutes to the Marlborough Sounds, where 1500km of winding coastline is home to secluded bays, historic sites, marine reserves and precious island sanctuaries, which foster kiwi and other native species. Cruise or kayak your way through the Sounds, home to dolphins, whales, seals and seabirds. Walk or cycle over bush clad ridgelines of the 70km Queen Charlotte Track starting at Ship Cove, Captain Cook’s favourite NZ landing site.

Abundance has blessed Marlborough. This ruggedly beautiful northeast tip of New Zealand’s South Island boasts wall-to-wall vineyards and the largest plantation of sauvignon blanc vines on the planet (praise be!). Its network of waterways known as the Marlborough Sounds is the source of some of the world’s best abalone diving, the turquoise waters also rich with crayfish, salmon, mussels, sea urchin and the famous Cloudy Bay clam. Visitors will also find aromatic fields of garlic and amazing corn; even the hops and resulting beers are great. It’s hard to imagine what more a food lover in the wild could want.

It’s extraordinary stuff, and the scenery constantly astounds; at every turn there’s a breathtaking view. There are more than 50 nature reserves and several wildlife sanctuaries in the region. On the Sounds, you’ll motor past dramatic mountainous terrain dotted with sure-footed goats. As you glide through pristine water speckled with pale pink jellyfish, dolphins will playfully race you (likely one of the world’s smallest varieties, the endangered Hector’s dolphin). Look to shore to spot rock formations leaning into the land like enormous ancient gateways to the underworld. It’s all very Lord of the Rings and rather otherworldly. With so much on offer, where to start?

Host Venue - Blenheim

The sunny town of Blenheim is an ideal base for those who want to explore the local wine and food culture. Bike around the vineyards or catch a tour.

Blenheim is situated in the heart of wine-growing Marlborough. It is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand, with an estimated average of 2,438 hours of sunshine a year. Mountains frame the area and trap the summer heat (temperatures over 30°C are quite normal in February and March).

In and around Blenheim you’ll find an array of cafes, restaurants, wineries, bars, shops, artisan food outlets and golf courses along with popular walkways along the Taylor River Reserve.

The Marlborough Farmers market is a must-do; buy direct from local growers and producers in a lovely market setting at New Zealand’s original Farmers’ Market.

A short drive or bike ride will take you to the world-class Omaka Aviation Heritage centre(opens in new window), where World War I history comes to life thanks to the talents of the team behind The Lord of the Rings. Discover the world-renowned WWI and WWII exhibit at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where aircrafts are bought to life in a theatrical manner featuring Peter Jackson’s own rare collection of historical aircraft and memorabilia.

There are more than 30 wineries within driving distance of the town, and most of them welcome visitors for sampling sessions and cellar door sales. Character accommodation is a Blenheim speciality.

South Island - New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience. From wildlife to wineries, glacial valleys to star-filled skies, the South Island offers adventure in all its forms. Choose to explore just one region, or road trip from Picton all the way down to Bluff. No matter which destinations you choose to explore on this long, mountainous island, you’ll be constantly open-mouthed before the incredible scenery.

The main feature of scenery in the South Island is mountains. The Southern Alps mountain range is the backbone of the island, stretching for roughly 500 kilometres from Wanaka to Arthur’s Pass.

The Alps have snowy tops all year round, feeding glaciers and crystal clear rivers.

As well as dividing the island visually, the Southern Alps also separate the lower South Island into two distinct halves climatically. The West Coast is frequently drenched in rain the slopes on this side of the island are covered in lush forest. On the eastern side, the Canterbury Plains are much drier and feature a much more arid landscape.

The highest mountain in New Zealand, Aoraki/Mount Cook, soars to 3,724 metres. Mount Cook is one of New Zealand’s greatest natural features. The pyramid-shaped peak entices both day walkers and keen climbers. To get a glimpse of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, you can visit Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park for a day walk or even an overnight trip to the famous Mueller’s Hut.

The Home of Adventure

Taking you to places other races just can't reach

The Home of Adventure
  • Cool Host Town
    Cool Host Town

    Blenheim is the perfect host town for GODZONE. All the amenities you need and close to everything. A great place to hang out for support crews with lots going on nearby.

  • Backcountry Beckons
    Backcountry Beckons

    A chance to explore somewhere totally new and off the beaten track. Chapter 12 will take teams into remote locations and test their skills, resilience and strategy.

  • Stunning Coastlines
    Stunning Coastlines

    Marlborough offers a swathe of coastlines, beaches and secluded bays. With around 1500km of coastline to explore, the options are almost endless and will be a feature for teams.

  • Huge Fan Engagement
    Huge Fan Engagement

    GODZONE gets more followers than any other expedition race on Earth. The Marlborough District have embraced the event. People want to be engaged in your journey.

  • Water That Inspires
    Water That Inspires

    There are multiple big and exciting rivers in Marlborough. There are also lots of smaller rivers that lend themselves well to paddling adventures. Packrafts will be used!

  • Somewhere New
    Somewhere New

    Well love the opportunity to go and find out about the adventure options in a totally new location. First time for you? Certainly first time for us. We're excited to get out there.

  • Epic Mountain Biking
    Epic Mountain Biking

    No surprises but the top of the South Island has some of the most epic and exciting backcountry mountain biking in New Zealand. We're sure they will be a part of Chapter 12.

  • Peaks Over 2000m!
    Peaks Over 2000m!

    Head inland a bit and you will see that it's not all just about sunny weather, vineyards and the Sounds. Huge mountains of over 2000m exist and there are many of them.

  • Proper Paddling
    Proper Paddling

    Real boats for a real race. Forget the dud sit on top kayaks you get at other expedition races. These are the best fleet of kayaks used in any adventure race. Fast and fun.

  • Navigation Focused
    Navigation Focused

    Chapter 12 will once again feature challenging navigation. It's a hallmark of GODZONE that the event requires great skill, coupled with killer strategy. The bush will be different this time.

  • Mystery Activities
    Mystery Activities

    We like to throw in the odd surprise when something presents itself. A swim, an abseil, a strategic decision to make whether to take a packraft or not.

  • Ultimate Team Challenge
    Ultimate Team Challenge

    This is the ultimate team challenge for those into adventure. You are given almost 9 days to complete the course. To make it to the finish in the time allowed is the holy grail.