Day 40/72: Zorbing, Rafting, PoolsDecember 6, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 14 °C
We did a lot today, it's a good read but wanted to get it all in. Enjoy!
Having booked zorbing the previous night, we woke up early, breakfasted and headed off to the zorbing place. For those that may be unfamiliar to what zorbing entails, it is an adventure activity, where one sits in the centre of a large inflatable ball (if you imagine a hamster in a ball for relative size) in a small pool of warm water, and is then pushed off the top of a large hill, where one proceeds to roll down, either on a straight line course or on a zig zag course, being thrown about and generally slipping and sliding until it reaches the bottom. It's one of those activities you see around and never do, so we gave it a go.
And you know what, it was a great laugh.
Completely pointless, with no skill involved whatsoever. We opted for the zig zag course, got driven to the top of the hill, both dived in to the big ball, got told to hold onto each other or it'd all end up in tears, and then got pushed down the hill. It was hilarious and we laughed all the way down, uncontrollably being thrown about. We clambered out and then spent the next 20 minutes in the hot tub, as people started to arrive for the day. Glad to have missed the rush, we headed off feeling a lot more awake than we had before!
It was raining hard by that point so we drive to a supermarket to get supplies for the next few days. Then headed to the rafting centre!
We'd been tempted by the rafting a) because neither of us had rafted before (not sure how weve avoided it over the years of various adventure activities) and b) because you can raft over the highest commercially available waterfall the world has to offer. Just to clear it up, the rafting we did is where 6 people sit in an inflatable boat with an instructor at the rear, and paddle down a section of a river with rapids and waterfalls, not the rafting where you build one out of wood, rope and barrels. Anyhoo, the centre was brilliant as you can imagine a NZ adventure centre to be. Everyone was unbelievably cool and there was a collie with relentless enthusiasm for playing fetch. We got kitted up and hopped on a bus to the start of the river section.
Little bit of info about the Kaituna River (Kai stands for food, tuna for eel). It was a great source of food in old tribal Mauri days and tribes would often battle the current tribe who claimed the river (who still own it to this day). The river was a blessing to the tribe, as it provided them with food and water, so tribesmen who fell in battle would be lowered into the river to be devoured by the eels. They were then carried to the caves that the river flowed over and buried in these tombs. Therefore, before you enter the river and go over a certain waterfall that a tribal king was buried under, they do a Mauri prayer/chant to the elders that says thank you for allowing us to enjoy the river and please don't hurt us along the way. Great addition to the activity and we felt honoured to be a part of it.
So we set off. The rapids were great and the first waterfalls a great laugh. We then came to the big waterfall and got told there'd be 4 scenarios. 1) everyone stays in the boat and the boat stays upright. 2) The boat stays upright but some people fall out. 3) The boat flips upside down and everyone is holding on around the edge underneath the boat in the water. 4) The boat flips upside down and everyone gets thrown out and dragged down the river. There was no guarantee of any of them as each scenario is as likely as the other. So we paddled towards the edge of the 6m cliff and hunkered down as we dropped over the edge, plunged into the water and came up surprisingly in scenario 1. It was brilliant fun! We then went down the river, going over smaller waterfalls and messing around in rapids. Izzi volunteered to kneel at the front of the raft, and we paddled hard upstream into the flow of the rapid. The water flowed into the raft and drenched us all, and Izzi forgetting to hold on, got flipped in slow motion over the front and under the water. Having visions of her being barrelled under the rapids at centre parks, it was a great relief to see her bobbing along down the river. We pulled her back in and made our way down to the finish, and back to the centre. Brilliant activity!!!
We got dressed and finished off lunch before heading to check into the overnight stop. It was in the front yard of a house, and a gentleman came down from his workshop to greet us. He was very welcoming, showed us around and told us about features of the local area, and told us he'd bring out a loaf of warm bread in the morning for breakfast before we left. Really nice guy! We took his advice and went down to some hot spring pools that he'd recommended.
These pools were a great mixture of relaxing and weird. It was a shallow lake about the size of a large swimming pool with a couple of tributaries coming into it. The water was muddy and scummy but apparently very bathable so we got in and hoped for the best. It was the temperature of a hot bath, heated only by the springs beneath it. There were patches of really hot and really cold water, and some areas around the edges that were well above 50°C that were avoided even by the most seasoned, local leathery bathers. We spend a decent time in there, taking photos of the scenery and trying not to get burned by the hot sections. A very relaxing afternoon.
After we'd got out and sprayed the orange sheen we'd acquired off, we headed for the town to meet 2 of Izzi's old school friends who happened to be in New Zealand at the time in the same town. Such a small world! We met them on the main food street (called Eat Streat) and had a nice evening catching up and having. All in all, a very busy day!
Sadly all the photos are on the GoPro which I haven't downloaded yet, so wait out for those!Read more