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Published: December 15th 2008
Day 162: Monday 8th December - Driving to River Valley
After leaving the Tongariro national park the bus winds its way through the rolling green hills south east to river valley, a lodge located on the Rangititikei river. Towering cliffs and bush-clad hills surround the lodge in its remote location. Here, we have the option of white water rafting and horse trekking - but these activities are all happening tomorrow. The evening is spent chilling out in the beautiful surroundings over a few beers. At 10pm I've had enough as the last few nights have caught up with me so I retire to the dorm to read a book. The dorm houses 32 people and is more like the facilities you get in huts when you're camping than a hostel. Its cheap though but the downside is getting woken up at 1am for an hour or so when the rest of the people staying in the dorm decide to go to bed. Its one of the worst night's sleep yet.
Day 163: Tuesay 9th December - Whitewater rafting on the Rangitikei river
One word....awesome! That describes the 3 hour whitewater rafting experience down the Rangitikei river. The experience
is shared with Lee, Candice a Canadian girl and an English guy not on the Kiwi Experience bus, along with our two guides who are good entertainment cracking jokes along the way. After driving up to the start of the course we go through the basics and then get out on to the river. Before we tackle any rapids we capsize the raft on purpose and have a bit of fun with the other 3 rafts on the river. The river itself is a mixture of rapids from Grade 1 to the most difficult Grade 5's. The 2 grade 4's are actually more fun than the 2 grade 5's where a more cautious approach is taken due to the difficulty and danger. There are also numerous grade 3's and 2's which are lots of fun too, and which we manage to go backwards and sideways down the majority. I manage to stay in the raft through the rapids apart from when the boat is capsized on purpose. Candice and Lee aren't so lucky, falling out in the lesser rapids. James, one of the Manchester boys has the worst experience, falling out in the most dangerous grade 5 rapids and taking
a bad knock to the hip and ribs. A canoeist also on the river at the same time has a lucky escape at the other Grade 5 rapid when he rolls the canoe. Towards the end of the course we stop at a 7-8 metre rock to jump off the end and into the river which is good fun and we also have a period at the end of just floating down the river without the raft, which is also cool. This whitewater rafting has been much better than the day I did in Peru which was only on a Grade 2-3 river. I'd definitely do rafting again, but I'd make sure it was on a more technically demanding river as its much more fun! We leave River Valley at 2pm for the 5 hour drive south to Wellington via a stop at Bulls.
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