hey, us three left Taupo and went to the national park around the mountains where we did the tongariro crossing. Our group did a two and a half hour walk in the national park up and around to the Taranaki falls and then back. It was a really easy walk for us compared to yesterday, and we didnt ache from yesterday. We had lunch by the falls, chatted to our driver Fly, and walked back ahead of the group (I just cant walk slow lol, some people in our group thought it was a really hard walk..). We then went on the bus to River Valley.
This is a really secluded lodge deep in a valley, with a river passing by where they do the rafting. We got there for about 5pm, after a drive via some small towns, and me and sarah had a farmers dinner- pork and veg :-) Weve been craving cooked meals. Our dorm had us three, another Sarah from the bus, who we called poppy cus she wore black and red, and two guys who smoked like troopers and smelled. All four of us girls got up early the next day as we were going horse riding :-) We had meant to go rafting, but the river is at a low level so its only grade 4, so only doing kayaking. Me and sarah think were not destined to go rafting on this trip lol.
There was a group of 7 of us going riding, all girls lol, and our guide was michelle. She took us to another valley where we got our hats n boots, and asked if any one us had been riding before. Me and poppy were the most experienced of the group, so we were given Rico and Honey. I had Honey, a mare whos michelle's favourite and she uses her for 12 hr treks into the mountains. She was a chestnut with a white blaze. She had a martingale on and some kinda leather thing to stop her shoving her head down and eating, which told me she had habits. But not at any point when I was riding her did she show any bad habits. She was actually a real star!
Despite most people in the group not having total control of their horses, we had a brill ride, nobody fell off or even nearly fell off. Me and poppy led the group for the day on our horses, Rico had trouble steering sometimes lol. Me and honey were fine, I could stop her just by thinking about it (after improving our brakes at the start and making sure she listened to me), and she was a fab trekking horse- she watched where she put her feet all the time, and always chose the steepest way uphill and downhill compared to the other horses which was fun. Most of the time going downhill was so steep that the back of my head touched her rump! She would slowly go down then canter at the bottom which I encouraged a bit, it was fun! We would go for a bit then go straight into a slow ambling walk the moment I sat back. Loved it, we often hung back and let everyone amble on ahead, and then catch up and have a bit of fun. I really enjoyed riding her and felt so relaxed. She wasnt bothered by drones of deer thundering past, or sheep and sheepdogs, or by a little helicopter at one point. She listened to me all the time aswell. Totally understand why shes michelles favourite for the difficult climbs. I would trust her.
Claire and sarah had nice bay horses, both were pretty good though brakes were slightly off, they never bolted though, more like running away in walk. They enjoyed the ride, and so did all the other girls despite not riding in years. Everyone had one canter, me and poppy had 5/6 on Rico and Honey, being at the front of the group. There was one girl on a big bay who was definitely not in control- her horse lunged at Honey twice and I had to whack him one to drive him away, defending my horse! The girl just sat there, didnt even pick up her reins. Honey, at one point, leapt up a 6ft cliff onto a little rock ledge to get out the way of the attack. She was more like a mountain goat lol. And she felt so easy to sit to all day. Michelle said that she had given her to me cus she can be too bouncy for beginners, but she was dead smooth to ride, beautiful canter. She would go from a slow walk to gallop in half a second, which beginners would not like, but I loved her for it. Best horse Ive ridden in a long time. Our ride was about 2 and a half hours, round the valleys, up plenty of steep slopes and down steeper ones in zig zags. Awesome, awesome views.
I took my camera and took photos as I rode, nobody else did so Im emailing everyone photos of them and their horses. When we got back we untacked, washed and groomed all the horses. Fantastic day, I felt like I hadnt even ridden and I though I would have ached a bit, wanted to go again lol. The others wanted a rest and a meal. We all went back, claire and sarah had lunch, and then we all got back on the bus and drove to Wellington.
We stopped off in some towns, one of them was Bull. This place was funny cus all the signs of places take the mick out of their name, e.g. the police station is consta 'bull', the toilets are 'relieve-a-bull' and subway is 'submerge a bull' etc etc. We watched Sex and the city on the bus aswell, guys loved it really, and us three ate loads of ice cream- the home made ice cream here is brill!
We got to Wellington at about 7pm, checked in and then we had a bit of a stressful time as we found out our bus, which takes us round the south island, is fulled booked and were on a waiting list, a long list...so were going to try and ring them tomorrow first thing and try to rearrange our trip and get on a later bus...hopefully it works out ok xx