New Zealand - North Island (Part 3)
Our next stop was a place called river valley which was in the middle of no where! It was, as you can probably guess by the name, a huge valley with a river running through it. We stayed in a lodge right next to the river which was really nice, it was totally wooden and composed of a massive central lodge with smaller cabins off of this. The main room in the hostel was 26 new Zealand dollars a night(very cheap!), however this would have meant staying in a 34 man dorm room - appropriately nicknamed 'The orgy pit'!!! Surprisingly a lot of people opted for this!
We chose to pay 2 dollars extra each and stay in a small 6 man cabin instead. The kitchen was tiny with only 3 working hobs and a microwave and when 45 people from our bus were cooking that night, cooking was not fun! Anyway once we had cooked, we had a few drinks in the lodge and turned in for the night as we had an early start the next day to go white water rafting!
As mentioned, there was a big river running through river valley which is where we were white water rafting. We got suited up and headed off in a truck to the start of the valley, it was a steep upward track for about 10 minutes until we emerged on top of the hills above river valley with a steep drop either side of us of about 100 feet, when you are all bouncing around in the back of a truck, this is quite unnerving and probably the most dangerous part of the day but we descended down to the top of the river safely to begin rafting. Due to the water level being so low, they told us we would be in 2 man boats, this meant us being trusted to raft together. After a brief safety tutorial about how to get back in if you fall out and sort the boat out when it capsizes (which would come in very handy) we set off. We also had to decide who was at the back and front of the raft- we were told that the bossy one should go at the back to call directions so no prizes for guessing which way round we were sat!
At first we didn't start too well hitting a lot of rocks and struggling with the rapids but after a while we got the hang of it........
- the first time the boat capsized was when we were stuck on a rock over a waterfall with the water gradually pushing the boat and us higher and eventually over until we both fell out, I righted the boat and pulled Alex in and then climbed in myself.
- the second time the boat capsized was when we were travelling through some narrow rocks and were required to lean right and then left immediately, we failed at this and the boat capsized and we both fell out, when I had surfaced and righted the boat, I climbed in to see Alex had climbed into the instructors boat and was sat there looking at me!
- the final time there was a problem, the boat didn't capsize. We flew through some quick rapids and for some reason (I'm honestly still not sure why) Alex flew overboard and under the boat, I had to abandon paddling and pull her in fast as we were heading for some big rapids and large rocks quickly, plus in the chaos, the boat had swiveled 180 degrees so we were going backwards! I got her in and immediately started saying to turn around before we hit everything backwards, to my surprise Alex started yelling out where the rocks were and what we were about to hit, I turned to see how she knew this when we were hurtling backwards and to my surprise, she had climbed into the boat the wrong way round! She was back to back with me and was paddling in the opposite direction, this caused us to spin through the rapids and down the river. The instructors found this hilarious.
Other than that, we pretty much nailed it. We loved it and it was one of our favourite things we did. After living in a lodge made of wood, next stop was a change of pace as we were off to the capital city, Wellington.
We were here for 2 nights and to be honest nothing really to report! It was a nice enough city and we spent the days wondering mostly and we went to the museum which was good. The city is nicknamed 'windy wellington' as it is so windy there- a bit annoying after a while! We did head to wellington cricket ground briefly after one if the locals told us that the England team were practicing there and we saw them training for a while. Although clearly they they should have done a lot more practicing. In the evening Ed heard that there was a pool tournament going on in a bar, he rushed there to sign up after his shower as there was a 50 dollar bar tab to be won. Once i arrived at the bar, ed was drinking a jug of cider after being eliminated in the first round! Although he later found out that they guy who beat him won the tournament and had done for the last 3 nights, so he found an ounce of consolidation in that fact! We then hopped on the ferry to begin our travels in the South Island. Heard really good things about the south island so were looking forward to exploring it!