The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is a multi-sport adventure endurance race that crosses Tasmania’s stunning and remote scenery. The event is promoted by former Australian F1 star Mark Webber to raise funds for charity, so we decided to ask him about his love of Tasmania’s dramatic terrain.
Q: Why did you choose Tasmania for your Challenge?
MW: Tasmania is the perfect adventure playground. With its mix of largely untouched terrains, it’s tailormade for a multi-discipline event like the Challenge. It has stunning beaches to run along, lakes and rivers and inlets to kayak, fantastic mountain biking trails – on and off road – rugged hiking landscapes and plenty more. And all this within just one state. I’m sure there are other places around the world that could host a good challenge, but I wanted to keep it in Australia, and Tasmania was the ideal fit.
Q: How would you describe Tasmania to people overseas?
MW: Like I’ve said before, it’s 'Planet Amazing'! There are some phenomenal places – some tucked away, others a bit busier – that will suit everyones' idea of fun. There really is something for everyone.
Q: What is your favourite Tasmania location?
MW: That’s a difficult question as there’s so many to choose from. Strahan is amazing – a picturesque village tucked away on the rugged west coast. Freycinet Peninsula on the gentler east coast is absolutely beautiful. And then there’s the Bay of Fires, the South Coast Track and Port Arthur.
Q: If a visitor only had time for one experience in Tasmania, what would you recommend?
MW: Hiking around Cradle Mountain is pretty incredible. It feels like you’ve stepped back in time a few thousand years.
Q: What do you like to do in your downtime now that you’re retired from F1 driving?
MW: I don’t like to sit still so I usually spend my downtime in the great outdoors. Whether I’m out cycling or running with my dogs, I definitely prefer to be in the fresh air, summer and winter.
Q: What was your favourite race location during the F1 calendar?
MW: Monaco for the circuit challenge and the atmosphere, but Australia will always be special for me for obvious reasons. Silverstone ranks high, and Belgium too. Spa is one of the most exciting ones, and it’s nice and quiet!
Q: Where would you take someone on a first date in Tasmania?
MW: I’d take them on a tour of the vineyards, stopping at a few other destinations on the way to see some of the sights.
To check out Tasmania for yourself, consider our Freycinet Escape tour.
Mark recently revealed that his event will take a year out in 2014 to allow him to work closely with the organisers and develop some new ideas to expand the race. The Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge will return in 2015. For more information visit www.markwebbertasmaniachallenge.com.