Grant Bowler welcomes us to
Survivor a new season of The Amazing Race Australia. But this time, it will be a Race between five teams from Australia and five teams from New Zealand.
The teams are driven to the Starting Line in Uluru and Grant lays out the Race. There are 10 Legs in the Race and the winners of each Leg will win prizes “like never before.”
Grant tells them their first clues are on their backpacks. He raises his hand and the Racers get ready to go…
But! Not yet. He asks them to follow him to where the teams will take part in a good ol’ fashioned tug-of-war. The Aussies line up on one side and the Kiwis on the other.
The Kiwis are a little worried seeing the very fit Aussie teams, especially the big bodybuilder in the back.
Grant tells the teams the winners will get a head start while the losing teams will get a penalty. He then gives the go signal and the Race officially begins. The Kiwis strategize to just set and let the Aussies tire themselves out. And eventually, it works. The five New Zealand teams manage to drag the Aussies into the mud.
Grant tells them they are free to go while the Aussies have to wait out the sands of the hourglass.
The New Zealand teams open up their first clue telling them to fly to Christchurch, New Zealand. There are two flights available and of course, there are a limited number of seats on that first flight.
On the way to the airport, we get to meet the teams a little better. On Team New Zealand:
Carla & Hereni, the fitness mums. Emily & Jono, close siblings. John & Murray aka Raspberry and Coke, best mates.
Cat & Jesse, foster parents. And Aston & Christie, the feisty friends.
Back at the Starting Line, Grant lets the Aussie teams go after 10 minutes.
The Australian teams are:
Elizabeth & Todd, mother and son. “Old age and treachery.” Daniel & Ryan, nurses.
Ashleigh & Jarrod, newlyweds. Inga & Tiharna, pagaent models. And Sally & Tyson, dating bodybuilders.
The New Zealand teams arrive at the airport and head to the Virgin Australia counter to check-in. Aston & Christie are 5th in line and they find out only four teams can get on the first flight.
So on the first flight: Kiwis John & Murray, Carla & Hereni, Emily & Jono and Cat & Jesse. That means Kiwis Aston & Christie have to fly on the second flight with the five Aussie teams.
But it turns out to be a great thing as Aston & Christie take a quick liking to the nurses Daniel & Ryan, who they have nicknamed “the Naughties” and with whom they flirt with the entire flight over.
Once in Christchurch, teams must make their way to the Cardboard Cathedral, built after the devastating 2011 earthquake. Inside, they will have to take a departure time for the next morning: 8am, 8:15am and 8:30am.
Able to grab an 8am ticket are Emily & Jono, John & Murray and Carla & Hereni. Cat & Jesse have to take an 8:15 ticket.
While waiting, the teams head to the back of the church to light candles at the memorial for the 185 victims of the quake.
Meanwhile, the 2nd flight arrives and they all hurry to the Cathedral.
Sally & Tyson arrive first, but they completely miss the times. That allows Daniel & Ryan and Elizabeth & Todd to grab the last 8:15am tickets.
Sally tells Tyson she saw some times in the church, so they re-read their clue as they might have missed something. Realizing their mistake, they run back inside, but there are only 8:30am tickets left. Joining them in the last group are Ashleigh & Jarrod, Inga & Tiharna and Aston & Christie.
It is now morning and the first group receive their next clue telling them to find marked cars and drive themselves to Rangitata Rafts, 150 km south of Christchurch. Once there, they will navigate white water rapids until they find and retrieve one half of a unique ring to receive their next clue.
The second group leaves at 8:15 and the Aussie teams follow Kiwis Cat & Jesse. Along the way, the other teams talk about Aussie mom Elizabeth having told everyone that she was one of the first women to ever go to space and the moon.
The last group finally leaves the Cathedral. Inga & Tiharna stop at the petrol station to try and get a map, but right behind them are Aston & Christie who tell the people at the counter not to help Inga who had arrived first since she’s an Aussie. Aston & Christie end up getting the last map. Inga & Tiharna are pissed.
Sally & Tyson stop also stop at a servo and ask them to print out Google directions to Rangitata.
Already at Rangitata are John & Murray followed by Carla & Hereni and they quickly get swept away along the rapids. The guys try to lose the mums who decide to stop when they think they’ve seen something. But they didn’t.
John & Murray continue down the river until they finally see a small beach with half rings stuck in the sand. They hop back into raft and continue on to the endpoint where they receive the next clue.
Teams must now make their way to Rata Peak Station, 21 km west.
Carla & Hereni and Emily & Jono are close behind the best mates.
Meanwhile, Aston & Christie manage to catch up to the Naughties who were in the 2nd group to leave the Cathedral. They both then catch up to Cat & Jesse and Elizabeth & Todd.
Daniel & Ryan set off on the river first followed by Elizabeth & Todd, Cat & Jesse and Aston & Christie who has to pee.
Over at Rata Peak Station, John & Murray find the Road Block.
For this Road Block, teams will use a tractor to navigate through a slalom course to collect haybales. They must reverse back through the course and stack a total of 4 bales in the marked area. Once the hay has been delivered, the team member must then search a pen of sheep for the half ring that exactly matches their own unique half.
Murray, Carla and Emily decide to do the Road Block.
As the other teams arrive at the rafts, Sally & Tyson are lost. They discover the Google directions were to the Rangitata office and not at the river.
At the river, Inga & Tiharna are upset they can’t even pass Aston & Christie. But when they reach the rapids, they fall out of the raft when it flips over. Sally & Tyson finally arrive at the rafts and they don’t give up hope even though they know they are in last.
Inga & Tiharna may have just given them a chance though as they leave their ring half in the raft and leave without it.
Back at the farm, Murray finishes first and starts to chase after the sheep. Carla stays close behind and hurries over, but Murray finally finds the matching half before she arrives at the pen.
The completed message on the ring tells teams to continue west to the Pit Stop on the Southern Alps.
Carla heads into the pen and chases after one sheep, but the ring on its neck falls off. So Carla picks it up and it’s the one she needs. They are right behind John & Murray as the next group of teams arrive for the Road Block.
But it is John & Murray who step on the Mat first. Grant officially checks them in as Team #1. They win two Express Passes and 2 Virgin Australia business class tickets to Los Angeles. For this Race, they must use the Express Pass before Leg 5 and they must give the 2nd Express Pass before the end of the 3rd Leg.
Carla & Hereni have to settle for 2nd while Emily & Jono take 3rd.
Todd, Jesse, Aston, Jarrod and Daniel do the Road Block.
Inga & Tiharna arrive at the Road Block, but then realize they don’t have the ring. They have to go all the way back to the rafts.
Aston finishes the Road Block and they go to the sheep, but Christie says she just injured her calf and now can’t walk. Aston carries her on her back for a seconds.
Daniel gets the ring next and he and Ryan head to the Pit Stop to check-in as Team #4. Elizabeth & Daniel follow as Team #5.
Meanwhile, on the way back to the rafts, Inga asks Tiharna to stop because she needs to vomit. They end up passing by Sally & Tyson on the way back.
Ashleigh & Jarrod finish 6th, Aston & Christie take 7th and Cat & Jesse finish 8th.
It’s down to the last two teams and Sally & Tyson just escape elimination by finishing 9th. That means Inga & Tiharna’s mistake ends up fatal and their Race ends here as they are last and eliminated.
Wow. Now THIS is an Amazing Race. With just this season premiere, The Amazing Race Australia proves once again that they are the best current TAR franchise in the world. It’s no secret that TARUS has been lacking these last few years, especially this last season. But TARAu has been consistently amazing, employing all the qualities that made TAR so amazing to begin with.
Excellent casting, great tasks, visually stunning and beautiful to watch. TARAu has it all.
TARAu still has the best TAR opening credits sequence in the world. Even though they used the same landmark shots from the TARAu2 opening, it was still miles better than TARUS’ half-assed opening (when they actually use one). The new guitar riffs in the theme song were a nice, subtle little addition too.
And seriously, what do you call that film quality thing that makes TARAu just LOOK different than TARUS which many times looks like it was filmed on a cell phone. Like, really.
The Australia vs New Zealand gimmick is a simple, yet fun little fresh twist. TARA and the Latin American TARs have cast teams from different countries before, but it was still great to see here. The tug of war at the Starting Line was cheesy fun as well. I can definitely see TARPh doing a “Luzon vs Visayas vs Mindanao” Race in the future (hopefully it has one!).
The Starting Line though. What a spectacular location! It definitely beats Los Angeles, eh?
Things started getting a little worrisome for a while when Seven wouldn’t schedule the premiere. But now that it’s finally here, TARAu did not disappoint. The ratings don’t seem to be looking too good, but it would be a shame not to have TARAu continue past this season. So good and it doesn’t seem like the change from ActiveTV to an in-house Seven Network production has affected the show’s awesomeness one bit.
My Subjective Team Rankings
This is an amazing cast, even better than TAR Canada’s. The New Zealand teams definitely have a leg up on the Australian teams though.
Aston & Christie are amazing. They are hilarious and definitely feisty. I would love to see them Race well. Elizabeth & Todd are awesome. They are like the opposite of TARC’s Cormac & Nicole; hilarious and fun. Elizabeth especially is great and funny. And it’s awesome to have more mother-son teams.
Carla & Hereni have a great vibe. Fitness mums indeed. They remind me of TARA’s Ida & Tania. It would be great to see them do well.
Daniel & Ryan seem like the nice guy team that you know will Race well. And for as long as Aston & Christie are in the Race, I would love to see the Naughties still in the Race as well. Ashleigh & Jarrod have the potential to be a really hilarious team to watch. They are competitive, but they are also funny. I just hope they live up to the “#BloodyJarrod” hype Seven started like a month ago.
Emily & Jono are fine. They might not be Sukhi & Jinder-level hilariously awesome, but there’s potential. Cat & Jesse are cool as well. They showed some fun moments this episode, but I definitely hope there’s more.
Sally & Tyson are hilarious. That the bodybuilders failed so miserably this first Leg is fun to watch. And they are certainly lucky. They remind me of TARPh’s Marc & Kat, though definitely not as dominant. They could still step it up though and if they do, watch out!
John & Murray are a solid team. They seem like they could evolve into the villains of the season, or at least the uber-competitive team that gets on everyone’s nerves. Inga & Tiharna were the most unlucky team this Leg for sure. Not unlucky that they misread the clue, but unlucky that Sally & Tyson ended up too lucky. They would’ve been great to stay in the Race because they definitely seemed really snarky and would let their claws come out. But one team had to go and it was them.
Elizabeth: “The Kiwis are very trustworthy, except when they’re not.”
Elizabeth: “Old age and treachery win every time!”
“How long does it take to get to the moon?”
“About 4 days.”
“What’s it like up there?”
“Oh, it’s a bit dark.”
Jarrod: “You’d think a road worker in New Zealand would know a road.”
Tiharna: “Back off bitches and find your own freakin’ servo.”
Ryan: “In a changing race, in a ‘take your clothes off’ race, that’s where we really shine.”
Elizabeth: “Do you seriously think I’m gonna fall in?”
Todd: “I know you’re going to fall in.”
Cat: “You look like a hobbit in a wetsuit.”
Christie: “She absolutely smashed it! To use an Aussie phrase.”
Christie: “I gotta have two legs to run the Race!”
Aston: “Transcend the pain.”
Christie: “Eat a dick.”
Elizabeth: “Why didn’t you bring your brother? Or a friend, don’t you have any friends?”
Aston: “You guys want some grass?”