22 November - Got up really early as I was supposed to go rafting at 8.15am, but when I got there it was cancelled due to insufficient numbers, so I had to go on the afternoon raft that left at 1.15pm. So just wandered round the town, went on the internet and got some food. I was going on the Kawarau river, which is a tamer river (the other one I could have gone on was the Shotover river which was a higher grade and due to all the rain all the boats were tipping over). As it was my first time rafting I thought I would go on the tamer river. Also the scenery was a lot nicer on the Kawarau, the river was a nicer blue colour and my really sad reason was that is was one of the locations for LOTR and the fellowship sailed down here in their little elf boats, so I figured I would do the same, but in a big blue raft! We were given the gear to put on at the rafting lodge, which is where the Shotover jet goes from, then we got back in the bus which took us to the raft put-in point on the Kawarau. We were split into two groups of seven, plus a guide. My guide was called Mark and he really reminded me of Warwick Davis (the dwarf from Willow) except he wasn't that short and he had dreads. I was sat third from the front on the left hand side of the raft (when you face the front). We were given some practice strokes to do, and then we hit our first rapid. It was really fun - the water really splashes you and the raft comes out of the water a bit. Didn't fall out, but I can see how easy it is to do! I lucked out and was definately in the best raft. As if was really quite tame for the next 20 minutes our guide decided he need to liven things up. Firstly he got the two blokes at the front to take turns and stand on the front of the raft and try to keep their balance whilst we rafted. Not suprisingly they didn't and they both ended up in the water. Then he wanted someone to be a mascot and sit on the front of the boat whilst we went over the next set off rapids. I was chosen for that. So I sat on the front, facing away from the raft and had to hold on to the rope behind me. But the raft rose up when we went over the rapids, so I fell backwards and ended up lying in the front of the raft, with my legs in the air unable to get up because we were still going over rapids. I think I swallowed half the river, because the water was really coming over into the raft - and it was freezing, but it was also fun. Next he decided he wanted to tip the boat up, but only if everyone agreed. One of the girls said no at first, but because everyone else wanted to she thankfully changed her mind. So everyone moved to the back of the raft and the guide pulled a rope holding us backwards. Because I was right at the back it was so hard to keep my balance and not go right back - I was clinging hold of the person next to me. At was point I was actually lying just on top of the water, and the river was going down my back. Then we lost it and most of us went into the water, including me. It was so cold, but really exillerating! Had to swim to get back to the raft, and then wait until someone pulled me back in. We did it again, and again I ended up in the river. The other boat was really boring and didn't do anything fun. It was then time for the last rapid which is called the dog leg. There was a moment when I though I was going to fall out, and the river was really rough - I got a faceful of rapid (and a photo to show for it). Then it was over and we headed to shore. It felt like we had only been in there for about ten minutes, but it had been an hour. I absolutely loved it - it was so much fun, especially going in the river. I want to go rafting again, but this time on a higher grade river, and also go in for longer. Maybe when I'm in Rotorua... Got back to the rafting lodge and had a very nice hot shower, and then they provided us with free hot drinks and cookies. Went on the internet some more when I got back to Queenstown and then back to the hostel to pack for another early start. I LOVE WHITE WATER RAFTING!!!!!