Leg 23.09 – “I’m sorry I’m so close to your face.”
Teams assemble on the tarmac of New Manila International Airport in front of the brand-new Philippine Airlines Airbus A350 which will be helping to safely bring teams to the rest of the destinations on this second half of the Race.
Each team has a clue envelope and inside are letters. The remaining seven teams will work together in order to unscramble the letters to reveal their next destination country. If they can solve the puzzle within 20 seconds, they will all get extra Google Maps time on this Leg. And that will definitely come in handy this time around.
The unscrambled country should reveal: N EW Z E AL A ND!
Teams will hop onto the Philippine Airlines Airbus A350 and fly to Auckland, New Zealand. Teams will then be transported to the Pit Start at Government Gardens in Rotorua.
Starting the Leg at 7am, teams must make their way to Tamaki Maori Village which they will find out is just a few yards down the street from the Pit Start.
Here, teams must find a Maori warrior who will have their next clue. However, only one warrior will have the clue for each team. Teams must figure out that the symbol in their clue must match the Ta Moko, a permanent marking or tattoo on the warrior’s face.
Once they find the right warrior, teams can hop into their brand-new 2023 Kia Sportage and drive to Taupo Bungy where they will find the Detour: Pekepeke or Piupiu.
In Pekepeke (or Jump), teams must bungy jump, separately.
In PiuPiu (or Swing), teams must do a tandem swing.
During both Detours, teams must search the area below to find their next clue and then figure out how to make their way to it on foot. Also waiting for teams at the clue will be the U-Turn! Which was activated last Leg.
After the Detour, teams must find this Honey Farm near Taupo. And here, teams will find the Road Block: Can you bee the one?
For this Road Block, teams will put on beekeeper gear and then harvest 2lbs of honey from a beehive to receive the next clue. This Road Block also has the Automatic Rewind penalty from the last Leg which Jacob & Jerika must complete before moving forward.
This is also the Trigger Point for this Leg of the Race. If any team’s harvested honey weighs exactly 2.10 lbs, the U-Turn or Yield will be activated on the next Leg of the Race.
Teams must now drive to the Waitomo Caves. Teams will experience the Black Abyss in which they will abseil, zip line and leap into the dark waters in tubes in order to reach the stunning glow worm caves.
Along the way, their guide will tell teams the history and legends of these caves. Teams must pay attention while experiencing the adrenaline rush of this adventure.
Because at the end of it, teams will find another Road Block: Who was paying attention? For this Road Block, teams must complete a word puzzle using a glow-up sculpture that recounts the history and legends of the caves. When correct, teams will be given the next clue. Teams can try as many times as they need to complete the puzzle. But they are forbidden from receiving help from other teams. Teams can go through the Black Abyss all over again or accept a two-hour penalty.
After the Road Block, teams must drive to This Farm in Matamata where they will encounter ANOTHER Detour! Whangai or Taiapa.
In Whangai (Feed), teams must load this tractor with feed for cows and then drive the tractor to deliver the food to the cows in the field. Once they have correctly dispensed the cows’ dinner and at least 20 cows come to eat, they will get the next clue.
In Taiapa (Fence), teams must drive these motorbikes to find a section of fence that is in need of repair. Teams must collect the wooden posts and wire necessary to fix a marked section. When complete, they must herd at least five cows into their section to receive the next clue.
That clue will be a pint of milk which they must deliver to a Hobbit hole in Hobbiton, the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race.
The first team to check-in here will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check-in here WILL be eliminated.
So, New Zealand was not originally in this season’s route. But it ended up being a necessary connection point to the next destinations. And this Leg actually turned out quite nice I think!
First up, the little unscrambling task is just an opportunity to highlight the pretty new Philippines Airlines plane that we will be flying on for the rest of the Race. Thank you to our air travel partners Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines! Hehe
This Leg will involve a lot of long drives, mainly because of Google scouting. But that’s alright. TARPHDME loves long drives! All the more opportunity to showcase our land travel partner Kia too! Hehe
The Maori Ta Moko task is just a simple task at the start of the Leg to hopefully help separate or bunch teams together a bit after the Pit Start.
You’re in New Zealand, of course you’re going to go bungy jumping. Hehe. I decided to do a Detour here with the typical “Look down below for your clue” piece of the task. Also a good spot for a U-Turn since it is still the beginning of the Leg.
I don’t have many specific locations as Google scouting doesn’t really offer them up. But just general tasks and activities. Like this honey farm near Taupo. Of course, let’s have teams harvest some honey! Easy, straightforward task.
Now, the Waitomo Caves looked amazing and stunning when I first found out about them. So I wanted to include it here on the Leg. The only problem, I had no idea what kind of task to do here. I knew it had to be something substantial as it was kind of out of the way on this Leg’s route. So we have to have something that warrants the long drive.
The spelunking kind of adventure through the dark caves should be really exciting and might even be physically challenging for teams. So that’s good. I could’ve made it a Road Block, but that would be too simple.
So I wanted to come up with something relating to the glow worms. That’s where the Road Block comes in. I don’t even know how it is supposed to look, but some glow-up light sculpture thing that has pieces of the history and legends that they hear along the cave adventure. Teams will have to have been really paying attention and absorbing the information. Otherwise, this could be a very loooong task. They might have to go back and do the whole thing over again, but I’m not sure how long that would take. Also, I put they could take a two-hour penalty if they don’t want to go back. But then why not issue a four-hour penalty for not completing the Road Block? I have no idea lol
Anyway, I have another Detour as I wanted to have at least one farming task on this season of the Race. I think this Detour is really good. Both physical and tedious tasks that offer up unique challenges.
Finally, I decided on the Hobbiton Pit Stop since it was close by. And since this Leg will likely end at sunset or even after dark, it was an easy location to use.
So overall, I think this is a very nice Leg in New Zealand. A bit of a last-minute addition to this route, but it could be great!