The Waiouru Army Base is a NZ Army training ground is in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. Waiouru is about 900m elevation on the south west flanks of the active volcano Mt Ruapehu. Tussock is the main feature of the area and it is frequently covered in snow during the winter months. So in mid-2012 when the OffLimits organisation announced the Tussock Adventure I jumped online and completed the entry form pronto. OffLimits is the brand under which outdoor action events are conducted for the New Zealand public at Waiouru. It is a non-commercial charitable organisation whose purpose is to raise funds for the families of New Zealand soldiers killed in active service. The OffLimits team have built a solid event management structure with resources to cater for up to 1000 trail riders. They have even started employing the services of a bulldozer to open up and improve tracks (they’re not allowed to make new trails but they can improve old ones). The January Tussock Adventure was OffLimits first foray onto the adventure scene and hopefully not their last. The three day event began with a rendezvous outside the Waiouru Army Museum and then a mass transit onto the base. Then we selected some non-snoring friends and settled into the 4 bed barracks and ate a hot lunch at the Warrant Officers Mess. After that we strapped up and formed up on the parade ground in three groups; the Cruisers, the Sly Dogs and the Gung Ho’s. The 4 hour afternoon ride took us to the south east extremes of the estate on a mixture of gravel roads, deep dusty tank tracks in the tussock and clay tracks in the Manuka. There were routes to suit each group and plenty of time to take breaks and breathe in the scenery. We also visited a mock village build from shipping containers for soldiers to practice assault raid techniques. And being a deeply religious bunch we all paused for afternoon prayer at the local place of worship. A couple of snotty hills kept us all amused for a while and served as a ‘sorting hat’ to help riders decide whether or not they were in the appropriate skill group. Return to barracks via Home Valley road was followed by another hearty meal in the mess and adjournment to the bar to swap stories. Here's a brave woman hanging on. And another... (on the right) Overnight rain dampened the dust and cleared just in time for a full days riding to the east and nor east of camp. First stop was at the arch dam on the south edge of Lake Moawhango about 10 km north of Waiouru. It’s a man-made lake that serves as a reservoir for the Rangipo Power Scheme 30km further north. Learn all about it HERE Here's a target shooting range Complete with Howitzer parking We followed a series of gravel roads out towards the high point of the property (almost 1400m) Then followed tank tracks down to lunch the historic Bobs Hut about 3km shy of the upper reaches of the mighty Rangitikei River. The Director checks out the hunters spoils. Our return route to camp was over more gravel roads and tank tracks (freshly groomed by the OffLimits crew) and included a couple of challenging crossings of the Moawhango River which tested the water-proofing of some machines. The Moawhango has carved some dramatic gorges into the land which we saw several of. Military activity on the base was quiet at this time apart from an advance party of Singapore Army personnel readying their kit for driver training and target shooting exercises the following week. By special permission we were allowed to take a close-up look at their kit before we left the base on day three. Note to neighbouring countries; Don’t mess with Singapore, they’re very well equipped.