After the comforts of a real bed, a Korean meal, seeing the state I’ll be in when I’m home (sorry Natalie, just comparing the no job, ‘depression’ etc!) and a few drinkies I headed north from Palmerston North to National Park….. well at least that’s where I thought I was heading when I left. By the time I bought supplies and left the supermarket car park I had a quick glimpse of what there was in the area in my Rough Guide, made a quick call and was on my way to rafting at River Valley outside Taihepe. I couldn’t get a space until the next afternoon which pretty much meant some time chilling.
I popped into have a look at Gravity Canyon on the way – home to the North Island’s largest bungee, a large ‘flying fox’ and a bridge swing. The pciture shows a funny message on the riverbank directly under the bungee rope. I managed to keep my wallet in my pocket but it was in a great location.
Of course I took the back gravel road to the rafting meaning my car getting much dirtier.
(Picture : taken from next to the rafting lodge) River Valley rafting is in a superb location on the riverbank down a steep gravel road. It would have been ideallic as I took the time to catch up on a few things – emails, a bit of writing etc…river flowing noises, sun out, no sandflies, sneaky beer in hand…..until the Kiwi Frickin’ Bus inconsiderate twats asked me to move so they could play cricket in my camping patch. So it was all shouting and the likes….. inconsiderate buggers. It could have been one of the nicest spots I had stayed in NZ.
(Picture : ‘Writer’ at work)As darkness fell a bunch of off roaders arrived with 4×4’s and dirt bikes in tow for a huge school fund raising event the next day – 600 of them started a few kilometres up the road in the morning, so I went up to have a peek. I wished I was taking part – all the farmers had opened up their land to give a 110km off road track.
As usual, once the place had my booking we were told the river wasn’t that high so the rafting wasn’t quite as mad as I hoped so I kinda wished I had kept my cash. In saying that it was meant to be grade IV’s (although I don’t think they were) but they were technical rather than mental. I shared the raft with two ‘Slaves’ who worked there for the week in return for food and accommodation…and a raft trip. We had to react to the guide’s orders to swap sides, do whichever paddle stroke he commanded and more to get us through the rocky rapids. Despite letting go of the paddle handle I managed to keep my two front teeth as it clattered off them as I was jumping over the other side of the raft. The river was in a really cool canyon apparently created by the tectonic plates in the area shifting as well as the waters flow. Still a good day out.
I then bombed up to National Park as darkness fell, missing two calls while I was out of reception from a mate who is over on honeymoon so sorry I missed you Rob!