After the long drive down we arrived at our first camp site. Given one big barrel and one little one we divided up our gear. The camp itself had an awesome view of Mt Ruapehu.
After dinner and a few games of patonk, the moon came out and it was a pretty epic view.
Day one on the river
After getting minimal instruction and a few minutes paddling backwards we were on our way.
Hitting the first day’s rapids were fairly easy for seasoned pro’s like me and Mave.
Jack and Mark on the other hand thought it was warm enough for a swim.
We made it to our first camp safe and sound, set up and had plenty of time to sit around in the sun.
Back on the water the next day, when you’re in the front you can’t see the shenanigans behind you
You also have to look pretty for the camera, even in the middle of some rapids.
After the excitement of losing our baler in a rapid, and then proceeding to find and rescue it 15min later down the river (Which included some expert backwards, sideways and all ’round dynamic paddling action) we had a short break to secure the gear, skip some stones, and check out the scenery.
After the surprise 300m hike up to our next camp site. We enlisted the German eco warrior to give us a hand on his quad bike with the smaller barrels after we carried the big ones up first. We scored a few bunks in the hut and then had a wander around the Blue Duck Cafe, which was amazing. In the evening Farmer Dan drove down and delivered us 4 quarts of Tui which was just what the doctor ordered.
Misty morning number 3
I woke up super early and couldn’t get back to sleep so I had a stomp around outside.
The grey clouds cleared and it was sunshine all day, I spent the day in the back seat soaking up the sun and taking some selfies.
Jack takes any chance he can get to strut his stuff.
A quick check of the map, a spot of lunch and we made it to our next camp site. Again making it in good time so a bit of relaxing by the river to be had.
Another group had lashed 4 canoes together and stuck a motor on the monstrosity
Camp life was pretty relaxing, up until the point we realised we were running pretty low on food.
For desert we quartered a fun sized Moro bar!
DAY 4 PADDLING
Because of a big group that showed up at the camp site we chose to head down the river a bit for breakfast.
The last of the cheese was on the menu.
Made it to the Bridge to Nowhere walk and used our feet for a couple of hours.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the bridge, it turned out to be just a bridge. And it went places.
The two German trampers we met at the Blue Duck Cafe had beaten us there in fact.
After Mave carried it all the way up I broke out my 70-200mm lens for the second time!
Because of our food situation and the fact that if we had stopped at our original camp site we would have had to have paddled 6hrs straight on the last day, we decided to cruise on by and do another leg of the river.
It turned out the camp site we picked to stop at was amazing. When we arrived the sun was just dipping below the hills.
A group of 3 German guys that we met at our first camp site also washed up here. We joined them on the river edge for a fire and some tequila that I had stowed away in my clothes barrel.
Jack did a bit of carving while I fluffed around trying to shoot the stars
I didn’t have much trouble with the sand flies but Jack got eaten alive the previous night. This guy guarded our tent up until the point I actually needed to get in.
Waking up to some good weather we set off on our last day.
We were warned at the holiday park about some “Meter high rapids” we joked about it all the way down.
Then we actually found it.
On the map it says to cautiously go around the edge but whose got time for that? We paddled head first and both boats got flipped. The baler floated past me a second time while we were drifting upside down after a short chase I managed to grab it. Wasn’t going to let it get away that easy. Super glad I lashed my camera bag to the boat at the beginning of the day, my camera handled a quick swim pretty well I was impressed. Mave’s jandles and hat were not so lucky and were lost to the great river!
After we had dried off a bit we remembered a school class was behind us and hung around for the carnage that was to come. They all flipped one after another, I regret not shooting the events but we decided to give them a hand to pull up on dry land.
After that it was pretty smooth sailing and we reached the pick up point with time to spare.
One of the school kids rescued one of Mave’s jandles; too bad the other was never seen again.