Participants don’t need to be professional athletes, nor experts in all disciplines. The Great Adventure Challenge is about working, training and competing together as a team, across a course designed to test and push your limits – but having fun at the same time!

The Great Adventure Challenge is achievable for anyone with a good general level of fitness – you really don’t need to be an Ironman to finish, but it will certainly help if you do some training to prepare.

Whilst your team will be expected to navigate its way across the 45-65km course, you personally won’t be expected to do it all yourself, that is of course unless you want to! A typical course will involve 5-8 legs with transition stops in between to recharge, refuel, and rotate the team.

The course changes each year, however there is usually multiple legs of each discipline. Some legs will be quite long, some quite short. Total approximate distances will vary depending on each location but typically you willcover around 17km on foot, 8km in kayak and 30km on Mountain Bike.

We recommend participants prepare through regular running and cycling training sessions. If you are looking for some warm-up events check out the Max Adventure Race Series! 3-6 hour adventure races for teams of two, brought to you by the same team that organises the Great Adventure Challenge. Run, mountain bike and kayak all while navigating, the perfect training session for GAC teams.

You will need to be able to read a map and perform basic navigation to make your way around the course and locate the checkpoints.

This does not mean you need to be a master of technical map and compass skills (no triangulations or back-bearings required!) – but a good understanding of what the lines on a map mean and how a compass works will definitely help you out on the day.

If you can comfortably read a street directory (age might be an advantage here!) and have some understanding of how contour lines depict the terrain around you, then you should be able to navigate around the course. Your compass will be needed to confirm direction at trail junctions and when looking for checkpoints (hint: the needle points north, so do the lines on your map).

If you are worried about the navigation we strongly recommend attending the information night where the race director will provide some basic nav training. Then grab yourself a topographic map and go on a bushwalk. Keep track of where you are on the map at all times by identifying the features around you that are also on the map: track junctions, hills, powerlines, creeks, roads, gullies.

If you are really concerned and would like to do some additional reading,we recommend ‘How To Navigate’ by Caro Ryan / Lotsafreshair.


Trail running legs in the Great Adventure Challenge will likely be a mixture of fire trails and walking tracks, with possibly a bit of cross country thrown in for good measure.

Distances will depend on the course, but if you can comfortably run/jog about 10km we think you will be well prepared.

Of course, there is nothing stopping you from hiking the run legs – just keep an eye on times and any cut-offs that may be in place.


The mountain biking will most likely be a mixture of fire trails and single track where available, but nothing too technical that requires expert mountain biking skills.

There may also be sections that are predominantly fire trail/road, so less confident riders might prefer these legs.

If you have limited mountain biking experience we suggest building up to 15-20km of riding on fire trails and getting confident with your bike, gears and brakes!

The course description provided on the day will highlight if there are any particularly technical sections, and you can always have a chat to the race director on the day for more information.


Sit on top kayaks are provided for all participants. Our kayaks are very stable (and not very fast!).

While we would love for all teams to get some kayak training in before race day we understand this may not be possible. We do require that all kayak participants be able to swim 100m, and you must wear a personal flotation device (life jacket) at all times when in/near the water.

Some tips to help on the day: heaviest person in the back, try to paddle in time with each other. Person in the front should watch the map and navigate, but the person in the back should be steering. Getting your timing and technique right will improve your speed more than muscles and energy!


If the course and location allows it there may be a leg that involves coasteering or canyoning. Coasteering involves hugging the shoreline on foot finding the best route around, over and under obstacles, and may involve some water jumps or short swims.

Any coasteering/canyoning sections in the event will not be overly technical (no ropes required!) but should be approached with care.

You will need to take your time to find the easiest and safest route through these sections. Good balance, footing and some scrambling may be required.

Remember to always have multiple points of contact when climbing over rocks and other obstacles – and look after your teammates and give them a hand where required.

mystery activities / team challenges

You can’t really prepare for these activities. It might be a physical challenge or a mental challenge or a combination of both. You might need to remember a sequence of information and pass it on to your teammate across the river, you might need to build a boat out of cardboard boxes, you might need to instruct your teammate to pitch a tent blindfolded.

Teamwork and good communication are the key to these activities – teams who struggle are those who panic or get frustrated with each other. Pick your teammates wisely! (and remember it’s all supposed to be a bit of fun).