The greatest little swim race in the world
26 January 2019

The Ruby Race is a lake swimming race held in pristine Lake Wanaka's crystal waters. It's a great new event (2016 being the inaugural year) that is expected to grow each year as word spreads of the unique challenge. Named after Lake Wanaka's Ruby Island which features prominently in the race course, The Ruby is the perfect finale of our weeks' stay.

Choose your CHALLENGE!

The Island Swim - 600m

The Island Swim is offered as an introduction to deep-water lake swimming. Starting from the shore of Lake Wanaka the course takes you directly to Ruby Island, a distance of 600m. From the island you can jump off the pier, have some fun and pose for the obligatory selfie before enjoying a lift by boat back to shore.

The Jetty Swim - 1.2km

I don't need a boat! A swim from shore to the Island, a quick jump off the Jetty (photo time) and back. 600m each way, making 1200m in total.

The Ruby - 2.5km

The main event. The Ruby race is where the the "Pro/Elite" swimmers will be fighting for prize money.  Age group swimmers will also be competing in this 2.5km event. The swim is from shore to Ruby Island, a lap around the Island and back to shore.  As you round the island you'll be in wonder at the lake's depths clearly visible in the crystal waters.  A veritable cliffhanger in the water!

The Big Ruby - 3.8km

Looking for a long race?  The Big Ruby takes you around the island twice, so you can get to appreciate what is happening around you - twice!  A total of 3.8km.

The Ruby10 - 10km

A true swim marathon, first held in 2018. The Ruby10 is a 4 lap swim around the island each lap being 2.5km. This event is for those that like to go long....!

Wanaka-XC will guarantee entry into the event of your choice. And if you are unsure about distance, don't worry, we can advise.

Helping you get the best out of the event

During the week leading up to the event, Wanaka-XC will guide you on the race course, ensuring you are familiar with the environment and the orientation of the courses. We promise to offer inspiration, motivation and expert advice. We will assist in working out the right race for you, given your own personal objectives.

The Ruby Race also offer a 'Crown Jewels' event - We can enter as a Team Wanaka-XC - all we need is a competitor in each of the Big Ruby, The Ruby and the Jetty Swims!  Total accumulated team time takes the prize.  Go Team Wanaka-XC!!

Immediately after the race, there are festivities on Lake Wanaka shoreline giving you the chance to socialise with your fellow competitors and share your experience.

As we are in the mountains, in the event of poor weather on the Saturday, the race will be postponed to the Sunday.


Year-round Wanaka Lake swimmers Jamie and Eddie organised the Ruby Swim as a way of sharing their passion for the lake. The lake's Ruby Island is an iconic and historically significant Wanaka attraction that has a magnetic appeal from the shore.  Eddie and Jamie see the Ruby swim as a celebration of swimming and the 'Zen' of being in the crystal-clear lake.  This, rather than the distance or time taken is the reason for the Ruby Swim.