2000km on two feet & two wheels - Outward Bound

2000km on two feet & two wheels

Outward Bound Kaiako/Instructors Luke & Robbie travel the length of Aotearoa for a good cause.

News from Anakiwa, Fundraising, Champions

"Some good shoes and lots of food" was the game plan for two Outward Bound Instructors when they prepared for a 935-kilometre challenge running from Bluff back the Outward Bound school in Anakiwa.

Luke De Jong and Robbie Gray planned to run about 35km a day for about 30 days in August and September to raise $10,000 for OB to cover two student scholarships.

That plan morphed from ‘Some good shoes and lots of food,’ to ‘Some good tyres and lots of food,’ after the pair reached Christchurch in late September, and decided to extend their journey just a touch and go all the way to Cape Reinga!

On the 4th of October, the pair reached Cape Reinga lighthouse, after 37 days travelling the 2122-kilometre lenth of Aotearoa from the start line in Bluff.

To preserve their bodies and ensure they could still instruct at Outward Bound on their return to Anakiwa the following week, they swapped the running for a tandem bicycle and ended up biking part of the South Island and up the whole length of the North Island.

Luke and Robbie added another $5000 to their fundraising goal, aiming to raise $15,000 - enough for another fully funded OB course, three in total. At the time of crossing the finish line, they had raised almost $12,000.

Luke said they believed that an Outward Bound course could change lives, and more people deserved the chance.

"We would love nothing more than for every New Zealander to attend an Outward Bound course at one point in their life,” he said.

"They do however cost money and we think that shouldn't be a barrier to realising and achieving your full potential.

Luke and Robbie met at Outward Bound in Anakiwa when they first started as instructors in September 2020.

OB celebrated 60 years since opening this September, and more than 70,000 New Zealanders have attended courses designed to help them reach their full potential through an outdoor adventure and challenge.

Their challenge was not without its funnier moments including a magpie encounter.

“We got swooped by a few magpies down South and they were getting pretty close, so close in fact that it gave me the opportunity to hit Luke's helmet with my hand and he genuinely believed a magpie got him as he was biking past,” said Robbie. 

The epic walk and ride included five physiotherapy sessions, walking and cycling 2122 kilometres in 37days, and one chipped tooth. 

“We ended up breaking one chain, popped three inner tubes, replaced two worn-out tires, bought all the bum and seat padding you could and went through a lot of bum cream!"


Robbie admits each day had tough aspects to them. 

“From Foxton to Mangaweka was particularly hard. It was just so flat and straight that we never really got a chance to coast downhill and give out bums a rest from the seat. 

“The trip was nothing like we imagined it would be. The decision to tandem the country felt like an easy and natural solution to not being able to run anymore. We thought that just finishing in Anakiwa wouldn't be a substantial enough challenge and would be too easy,”

The pair acknowledge the help from friends, family and sponsors definitely made it a less stressful trip and “meant we could talk to someone other than each other for a while!” 

“Some hot tips for those embarking on a similar journey – definitely buy a good pair of bike shorts and a gel seat cover, if on a tandem bike like us, make sure you take turns at the front and back, wear heaps of high-vis and lights, and pick a good adventure buddy.” 


Help Luke and Robbie reach their $15k for Outward Bound scholarships by donating here.

Luke (left) and Robbie back in Anakiwa.

Luke, Robbie and Robbie's eldest daughter Georgia at the finish line.