city safari

today we participated in the metlink city safari. hard to describe – but combine orienteering, a scavenger hunt and “amazing race” and you’re close.

technically it is called a rogaine and in a fixed duration event where you challenged to visit as many control points as possible. the control points are indicated on a map that is provided just 30 minutes before the event start. each control point has a difference point value based on it’s distance from the start, remoteness and physical challenge level. one 100 point control point was at the top of a peak several kilometers from any road.

the wellington event is special in that is is sponsored by the public transport system (metlink) so you can use the buses, trains and ferries to get around. actually given the distances between control points the only way you can get many points is to use the public transport for all it’s worth.

there were 6 hour and 3 hour events offered. the hard core competitors were in the 6 hour edition with us and most of the amateurs opting for the 3 hour event.

here we are getting final instructions after receiving our maps.

a quick speech by the mayor and we’re off. note the stylish bibs.

it had to be quite the site for others in the city that day. hundreds of fools with maps running all around.

our tactic was to grab one quick control point near the start and then take the bus all the way down to the island bay coast. we would then work our way back to the cbd and the finish line.

the photo above was this bizarre place we encountered on the way to control point 3A. it looked like a ride a disney. i kept expected to hear the splash mountain music playing. very weird to run into this in the middle of the wellington neighborhoods. still don’t know what it was.

this is one of the two maps that we were given – this one covering the southern portion of the course. you can see our route with the green line bus journeys and the blue when we’re off on foot.

note that the map has no street names, so you have to use your map reading skills to keep track of where you are and how to get to your next control point. since this event was tied to the public transport system all the bus/train/ferry stops are marked (the little red numbers). they have a nice system here where you can text the stop number to a metlink number and it replies with when the next bus/train/ferry will arrive.

we only made one logistics error (it can been seen on the map as the blue line heading nowhere), but we quickly recovered.

one of the control points was directly across the street from our house on tiber street – a bit small worldish.

here we are at the finish, still on speaking terms.

after the results were tallied we got 270 points which earned us 39th place. no need to mention that the team below us included a family with 4 kids under the age of 10 and several families with little ones in backpacks.

we figured we covered about 5k on foot and 10k on the bus. fully expecting to be quite sore tomorrow.

after the race the organizers had the full spectrum of snacks. everything from healthy bananas and organic sausages (kiwi oddity here – don’t expect to get a bun with your hotdog or sausage – it will be served on a piece of white bread) to cookies and dominos meat lovers pizza.

we’re looking forward to doing it again next year and expect that we can get several other teams organized from work colleagues and their families.

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