Tuesday, 24 November 2015

White Water Rafting and planning for Christmas!

So I was pretty much shitting myself all morning before getting there. We were picked up at 8am along with a few from our Stray Bus crew and immediately the driver was feeding you fear! It didn't help my nerves I tell you!

Upon arriving we were given a quick intro before getting ready in our gear; wetsuit, helmet, water jacket, waters shoes. And then we were led onto the bus to shuttle us down to the start of the river. On this bus our raft guides began to install more fear into us; if your boat flips down the waterfall you have to hold on and not let go until they say, if you fall out of the raft its your fault as you should be holding on tightly, if you fall out under the waterfall it will beat you hard and the safe way to get out is to make yourself as small as you can into a ball so you float up and out rather than make yourself big and the water will push you down further, if you fall out the boat on the rapids you have to float or swim to avoid hitting rocks and hold onto the roat to get back into the boat ...oh my God, my face was just going whiter and whiter!!

When we got to the river there were a few more safety briefings before our raft guides said some Maori prayers to the river, the mountains and the spirits, before we all got onto our boats.

The first rapids were a trial on if we had listen to the rules of 'get down', 'hold on', how to paddle etc. Then we encountered our first set of waterfalls which was a double whammy at around 3-4 metres - I must say once I got through these and I realised holding on and being small and wedged into the boat was pretty easy to stay safe, I was absolutely fine! I had the surge of adrenaline I now needed to get me through the Big 7-metre waterfall.

So we did a few more rapids and smaller waterfalls before we got to the top of the Big waterfall. Here we stopped to have a quick debriefing over the rules and what to do if it flipped etc. It was also the last chance to leave the boat if you didn't want to do it...I was pretty close to it after the safety talk but I decided that I HAD to do it now I was here lol. So it was time, and we were the first boat down!! We paddle to the top where we had roughly 10 seconds to get down into our hold on position before it shot down. The paddling up to it though was the most crucial part as if we didn't get it into position properly A. We would go down wrong and possibly flip and B. Wouldn't have enough time to get down and hold on. But luckily our group was ace at paddling and...we made it down in one piece, everyone in the boat and the boat the right way up!! But let me tell you, you get wet wet wet, the force makes the boat go under the water before resurfacing and entering the pounding waterfall and the waterfall pounds down onto you and the boat, weighing you down so you can get stuck in it...which is what happened to the other 3 groups next! A few people fell out too haha, we were the lucky group!

We had a photo opportunity and we enjoyed watching the other groups boats come down, and fail! Then the rest of our 45mins on the river was fun rapids, one more small waterfall and fun things to get wet. We then took the rafts back to the bus and made our way back to get changed. The main thing was we had survived, and I enjoyed it!! Woo! It was pretty amazing actually and I would definitely do it again!

Then we bought the picture between our group and travelled back to Rotorua where we relaxed, said goodbye to our Stray group who were leaving to the next place and then we decided to go into Peter pans to look at booking a bus to Thames for the next day to get to our Coromandel WWOOFing spot...which we had now changed! Instead of a farm we were now going to WWoof at a Campsite in Tapu in the Coromandel where they were having a school group come to camp with them as an end of school leaving ritual. So a group of 18-19yr olds getting drunk for 3 nights...should be fun! We were allowed to stay for 2 weeks though to help out and travel around. The owners were Kiwi and French so it would be a good experience for us both!

So when we went to PeterPans we were told the bus we wanted to take was full...until the weekend...gah! New Zealand all over! Basically in summer you have to advance book everything as its always fully booked, including accommodation. So instead what we did was buy an Intercity Flexipass which gives you hours to hop on and off the bus for a set price so no excessively priced bus tickets! We then had to go to Tauranga, stay the night and travel onto Thames the next day. Which actually was better for our hosts to pick us up as they were in town Thursdays. So after the initial stress of having to change our plans we managed to book everything and feel a bit better! We also booked in advance our schedule on the Stray bus until after new years so we could be sure to travel and get accommodation. So our plan was Tapu for 2 weeks, then the East Bro Stray tour around the East Cape, then down to Lake Aniwhenua, Lake Taupo where we would stop and change onto an intercity bus to Hawkes Bay region for a week of WWOOFing there, then back to Taupo for Christmas Eve, Christmas and boxing day in Blue Duck Station at Whukahuru (a nature retreat in the middle of nowhere-will be interesting) Tongariro Alpine Crossing and then Wellington for New Years until 4th Jan! Phew!

The evening was just a quiet one, skyping the parents, booking all our accommodation upfront etc and packing for tomorrow as our bus was at 5pm but we would have to check out at 10am. Looking forward to our first WWOOFing experience!

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