Challenge Wanaka Half

Half the grind, all the magic!

Test your mettle on the legendary Challenge Wanaka middle distance course on 20 February. The course will follow the spectacular route that has quickly earned Challenge Wanaka the title of the world’s most scenic triathlon and will also play host to the Asia Pacific Championships in 2021.

The 1.9km swim will be one lap of the swim course in the crystal waters of Lake Wanaka, the 90km cycle will travel out towards Treble Cone before heading back through Lake Wanaka and then cutting across to Lake Hawea. The 21.1km run will be one lap, half of which is off-road alongside the lake and banks of the Clutha River.

The Challenge Wanaka Half is open to both teams and individuals.

Race Day: Saturday 20th February


Challenge Wanaka Half is excited to host the Asia Pacific Championships again for its 2021 race! Enter this race now and you’ll be racing among one of the largest cohorts of global triathletes.  If you’ve ever had Challenge Wanaka on your bucket list, 2021 is the time!

Read more


Challenge Wanaka Half is also an official qualifying race for THECHAMPIONSHIP. For more information please visit The Championship website.



Download Maps


The 2021 race manual has all the information you need to prepare for race day and is a must read for our athletes: 


The 2021 entrant lists for Challenge Wanaka half are available to view here (please note bib numbers will be allocated in February): 


Swim Course – 1.9km

Swim start times:

Pro Men – 6:45am
Pro Women – 6:48am
Individual Men – 7:05am
Individual Women – 7:15am
Corporate & Secondary School Teams – 7:25am
Male Teams – 7:30am
Mixed Teams – 7:35am
Female Teams – 7:40am

The one-lap swim is in the sheltered part of Roy’s Bay in Lake Wanaka within easy view of spectators watching from the shore. The course has a deep water start swimming in an anti-clockwise direction with a total of four turn buoys. The average water depth for most of the course is 2.5m although the second leg does have depths of up to 13m.

Lake Wanaka is the warmest lake in the Southern Lakes and is a popular choice for a large range of water sports each summer. The swim course is in crystal clear water so clean you can drink it.

The following rules will apply to the swim :

  • Wetsuit – compulsory
  • Event swim cap – compulsory (provided at registration)
  • Please note that other swim equipment (e.g. neoprene swim cap) maybe made compulsory prior to the event. Compulsory gear will be finalised by race briefing.

In all likelihood, the swim course temperature in February will be in the region of 16C-18C, and that being the case, we will revise the compulsory requirements for the swim, but you must come prepared to adhere to the above. Those not wearing compulsory gear as specified by the event team on race day will not be allowed to start.

Swim cut off for individuals and teams: 1 hour 30 minutes after start time (this is at the discretion of the swim course manager who will monitor each swimmer and their ability to safely finish)

Pre-Race Practice Swims

There is a Swim the Course practice session on Thursday between 7.00-8.30am. This is the only time that the course will be patrolled with safety boats. If you wish to swim in the lake at any other time, you MUST wear a brightly coloured swim cap and swim in groups. It is recommended that you also have a friend in a safety kayak. This is for your own safety and that of other lake users. Also, please keep out of the water ski lanes (marked by blue/yellow striped posts on shore) and the marina area.

We strongly recommend you attend the Swim the Course. It is an excellent way to acclimatise to open water swimming in a large group under the safe watch of qualified medical personnel. Lack of acclimatisation can lead to panic attacks in the water at race day and we want you to finish your race at the finish line, not the first turn buoy, after all your hard work preparing for the race!

Racers Edge Bike Course – 90km

Please note: there have been a number of changes to the bike course this year.

The 90km bike is over one lap and takes in two of the alpine lakes in the Southern Lakes region. The course heads out of town winding round the edge of Lake Wanaka towards Mt Aspiring National Park, reaching the Hospital Flat turnaround point at 17km and heading back to the township. After passing through the main race area and crowds of spectators the course turns left alongside the lake and then up Aubrey Road into Albert Town. Turning left out of Albert Town you’ll then be taken on an undulating ride to Lake Hawea. After a ride along the Hawea lakefront the course heads to Hawea Flat followed by a short climb to the terraces and then a steep descent to the Clutha River across the Red Bridge. Turning right at Luggate, competitors will climb to Wanaka Airport and then left onto Mt Barker Road, winding through beautiful countryside, onto Riverbank Road and right at Orchard Road for the final 5km downhill and back to transition.

Aid Stations

Aid stations on the bike course will be approximately 20km apart. These will have bike bottles with PURE electrolyte drink or water in them. PURE bars, PURE Gels and bananas will also be available from aid stations at all times, along with hydration from PURE. Coke is available on the final two aid stations. Please make sure you train on these products prior to the race so you know how they work for you – everyone is different.


If you are caught drafting you will be penalised and/or disqualified as per the Triathlon NZ regulations. Please read the Terms & Conditions which are part of the entry form for clarification on our drafting rules.

Bike cut off for individuals and teams: 2.30pm

Run Leg – 21.1km

The run heads towards the Lake Wanaka Outlet Track along the lake edge and follows the Clutha River towards Albert Town.

Once at Dean’s Bank (12.5km) the course turns right into Gunn Rd (sharp uphill) right into Aubrey Rd (long gentle downhill), right onto Beacon Point Road down to the turnaround at Ridgecrest, back up Beacon Point Road and turn right into Waimana Place and then left back onto the lakeside track then onto Lakeside Road towards the town centre. The run course is 25% sealed, 75% gravel and is one lap.

Aid Stations

Aid stations on the run course will be positioned approximately every 2.5km. They will be offering PURE bars, PURE Gels and bananas along with hydration from PURE, water, Coke, bananas, salty crackers and ‘jet plane’ lollies. Other foods will be available, and will vary from station to station. Sponges will also be available.

Secondary School Teams

Teams competing in the Challenge Wanaka Half are to be made up of 4 or 5 athletes consisting of one swimmer; one or two cyclists and two runners (any teams wanting to compete with fewer team members please contact the Race Director).
If the team is made up of two cyclists the first does the Glendhu leg (36 kms) and pulls into the bike transition to change over at the bike racks. The second cyclist will then push their bike out and cycle the second section (54 kms).
All teams MUST have 2 runners who will do approximately 10.5Km each. Your run changeover will be at the aid station at the Outlet Track 2.
Your swim start will be with Corporate Teams. All team members should run up the finish together to receive their medals. There will only be trophies for the first 3 teams.
Please note all other Challenge Wanaka Half rules apply. 

At the finish

As you come up the finish chute, take a little time to reflect on what you have achieved, and relish the experience of finishing the Challenge Wanaka Half. Once under the finish gantry, each competitor will be assessed by the medical team and be guided through the recovery tent where a well-earned food, drink and congratulations await you!

Finisher Tee Shirt

Challenge Wanaka Half Individual and Team entry includes a finisher’s shirt per person. You are responsible for ordering your size according to the sizing guide below. If you wish to check or change your size you can view your registration by logging in using your confirmation number at this link (your confirmation number can be found in confirmation email). Please contact us if you wish to change your size.

Measurements in CM

Course closes for individuals and teams: 4:30pm.

The Integrity Homes Challenge Wanaka 2020