Ultra Run
Saturday 1 March 2025

Ultra Run

Highest Point
Glendhu Bay, Lake Wānaka
Start Line
Wilcox Green, Arrowtown
Finsh Line

The Motatapu Ultra traverses the absolutely stunning ridges and valleys of the Harris Mountain Range between Wānaka and Arrowtown. The mountain run track covers 52km of exposed and physically challenging back-country terrain across the Motatapu and Soho Stations on an old travellers’ route that is steeped in New Zealand history.

You will ascend a total of 2,496 metres over four peaks (the highest point being 1230m), and negotiate rough tussock-covered areas, long, steep saddles and river crossings. It will be an accomplishment you’ll remember and be very proud of for a long time to come.

The Ultra course follows the DOC Motatapu Track, which forms part of the Te Araroa Walking Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Te Araroa, meaning “The Long Pathway”, connects settlements, townships and cities throughout New Zealand, showcasing a wide variety of NZ experiences – natural, cultural and historic.


Motatapu Ultra athletes must have prior mountain running and marathon distance race experience. This is not an event for novice runners. All competitors are required to check-in and pick up their race number on Friday evening in Wānaka or Arrowtown. While checking-in, every competitor must get their mandatory gear checked. This will be checked again at Checkpoint A.

Throughout the race, competitors must follow route markers, stick to the DOC walking track, and remain within 200 metres of the poled route.

Competitors must use stiles wherever possible and leave all gates as they find them.


Course Maps

Capra App Map

Event Details

Entry Fees View Entry Fees here
Event Date Saturday 1 March 2025
Distance 52.7km
Start Line Glendhu Bay, Lake Wānaka
Finish Line Wilcox Green, Arrowtown
Start Time 6:00am
Categories Individual: Male and Female 18-29 yrs, 30-39 yrs, 40-49 yrs, 50+ yrs,
Minimum Age Must strictly be 18 years of age on race day to compete
Placegetter Awards A short presentation ceremony for the overall top 3 male and female placegetters for each event will be held at the finish line as soon as all 6 athletes have completed the event. Overall Male and Female solo winners will be awarded NZD$500.00.

There is no prize giving presentation ceremony for each age group category placegetters. 1st, 2nd and 3rd age category placegetters can collect their medal from the Winner’s Lounge at their leisure from 4pm. No awards will be mailed after the event.

Spot Prizes All competitors are eligible for a spot prize, which will be randomly drawn. A list of winners will be available at the Winner’s Lounge and on the Motatapu App. If your race number is showing on the list, then head along to the Winner’s Lounge tent and show your race number to collect your prize. The Winner’s Lounge will be open from 11am until 8pm in the finish area of Wilcox Green, Arrowtown.
Mandatory Gear checklist Click here to view the requirements.

Mandatory Gear check at Athlete Registration and on-course at Checkpoint A.

Athlete Check-in Friday 28 Feb, 3-7pm, Wilcox Green, Arrowtown


Friday 28 Feb, 4-7pm, Mt Aspiring College, Wānaka

Collect your race bib at your pre-selected location.
You MUST bring all mandatory gear to be checked at check-in.

Cut-off Times Checkpoint A: 8am (Fern Burn Hut, 9.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will walk back to the start area with the CP A Crew.

Checkpoint B: 10am (Highland Hut, 15.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will walk back to the start area with the CP B Crew.

Checkpoint C: 3pm (Rose’s Hut, 26.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will be driven off course with the CP C Crew to Glendhu Bay (start area) and then onto Arrowtown.

Checkpoint D: 6pm (Macetown, 36.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will be driven off course with the CP D Crew to Arrowtown (finish area).

Course cut-off: 8pm. Athletes who miss this cut-off and are still on the course will be driven off course with Officials to Arrowtown (finish area).

Cut-off times will be strictly enforced, noting the time listed is the time you must be leaving the Checkpoint, not arriving, and then stopping for 15 minutes.

Race Briefing There will be a race briefing before you start. It is compulsory for you to attend your race briefing. It will include up-to-date course and weather conditions. The briefing will be based on you having read all the information sent to you pertaining to your event.

Mandatory Gear Checklist

The Motatapu mandatory gear list contains what we believe is the absolute minimum to keep you safe in the alpine environment.  The weather is very unpredictable in the high country, a front can blow in and out of the mountains in less than 12 hours. It has been both sweltering hot and freezing cold in this area during March so you should be well prepared with all the necessary gear for all conditions, including snow, due to the high elevation of this event.

All competitors must carry the mandatory gear at all times during race day. No mandatory gear = no start!

The Ultra Run will have a mandatory gear check at Athlete registration. Competitors must have all mandatory gear items in order to get their race number and start the race. There will also be a mandatory gear check on course at Checkpoint A (Fernburn Hut) of one random item. Any competitors missing any items will not be allowed to continue.

Bad Weather Exit Routes

Competitors will also have a copy of the exit routes printed on the back of their race bib. 

Return to Fernburn Hut (Checkpoint A) or, if the weather allows it, Fernburn car park. Ensure you check-in with Checkpoint officials at Fernburn Hut or Fernburn car park.

Make your way to Highland Creek Hut (Checkpoint B) and await further instructions from Checkpoint officials.

Make your way to Roses Hut (Checkpoint C) to await further instructions from Checkpoint officials.

Make your way to Macetown (Checkpoint D), being sure to take the safest possible route according to water levels:

  • Low/Normal River Route: If the Arrow River is low make your way down the river bed to Macetown (Checkpoint D) and await further instructions from Checkpoint officials.
  • High/Flood River Route: If the Arrow River is in flood, you should use the poled flood route/water race high on Arrow River left to get to Macetown. If possible, the Checkpoint will set up a safe river crossing using ropes and 4WDs. Adhere to Official’s
  •  instructions at all times.

Make your way to Arrowtown, being sure to take the safest possible route according to water levels:

  • Low/Normal River Route: If the Arrow River is low, follow the 15km unsealed 4WD road to Arrowtown (Macetown Track).
  • High/Flood River Route: If the Arrow River is high, you will only be required to cross it once just before you reach Checkpoint D. Assistance will be provided at this crossing. From Checkpoint D, you will follow the 4WD drive road and soon after be diverted onto a side track above the Arrow River. This track will lead you to the intersection of the Motatapu Mountain Bike and Marathon Course where you will follow Macetown Road out via the high water finish.

Start Line - Glendhu Bay

Limited facilities are available at the Glendhu Bay start line, including an Info Tent, toilets, parking and coffee vendor!

Parking is available at Glendhu Bay.  Please follow the directions of traffic marshals as to where to park. All vehicles are treated as parking and there is no drop off area.

Please note that there will be heavy traffic flows heading towards Glendhu Bay on event day.  Please factor this into your travel time and take extreme care, watching for sudden stops in traffic.

A bag drop service operates from the start line area for the Ultra Run. A gear trailer will be waiting at the start line for you to put any excess clothing/gear into. This trailer will then be driven to the finish line area to await your arrival. Please note: no mandatory gear can be left with this bag drop service, all mandatory gear must be carried with you through the course. We take all care but no responsibility for anything put into the gear trailer. Please use the bag tag provided to you at Athlete Check-in.



The Ultra Run has four Checkpoints. All Checkpoints will have water and a small quantity of PURE electrolyte hydration drink. Checkpoints C&D will have various food such as cake, sandwiches, chips, oranges, boiled salted potatoes and Em’s Power bites. Athletes must still bring their own nutrition as per the mandatory gear list. Athletes are encouraged to take their rubbish with them and can leave at it Checkpoint C as the volunteers have more space for rubbish here.

**Please note: While we are there to help, please ensure you carry enough food and drink to get you through your race.

Finish Line - Arrowtown

The finish line for all events is located at Wilcox Green, next to Nairn Street, in the heart of Arrowtown. The Finish area will offer the full post-race experience; where you can relax, soak up the atmosphere, appreciate a well-earned massage, refuel, and enjoy celebrating your achievement with friends and family. Make a day of it enjoying the local flavours of the region, with plenty of delicious food stalls, beer, and entertainment; whilst cheering on other finishers throughout the day.


Race Rules

Click here to view the Race Rules

UTMB Index Race




The Motatapu Ultra Run is officially a UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) Index Race. This is a system of assessing the performance level of each trail runner. The UTMB index system provides all finishers of a valid UTMB Index race, an index number in the distance corresponding race category of the race. For all races in the UTMB World Series, runners with a valid UTMB Index will have a priority entry. For more information click here.

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