Just Gorge-ous

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Oceania » New Zealand
November 1st 2009
Published: November 9th 2009
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That's more lemonade than any bear could handle, Jish!
Some of you may remember that back in November last yeat and over Christmas, we were visited by my long lost school friend, Mia and her Canadian boyfriend, Isaac. That was when they first arrived in New Zealand about to embark on a year of travel and work.

Incredibly, that year has now passed and Mia and Isaac are back with us to stay for a couple of weeks before heading back briefly to the UK and then on to Canada. As most of their time with us so far has been spent trying to sell their campervan and pack/unpack/repack a years' worth of accumulated stuff, we decided they really deserved a day out and about to take their mind of it all.

Today was looking good weather-wise with broken cloud and some lovely warm sunshine easing through the gaps. We decided to head back to the lovely Karangahake Gorge where we went with our Japanese friend Mayuko ealrier this year. First stop of course was in Paeroa for the obligatory photos with the giant L&P bottle (a type of lemonade famous in NZ).

At the gorge, we hopped across some swing bridges and then took a route
Mouth of the GorgeMouth of the GorgeMouth of the Gorge

The start of the Karangahake Gorge - picture postcard perfect, wouldn't you say?
past the old gold mining batteries, across a rickety old wooden footbridge and into the famous 1km long tunnel. Emerging from the darkness at the other end of the tunnel, we stopped at another bridge spanning the river far below. Isaac decided this was a good spot to try out one of his favourite past-times - throwing big rocks from a height into the water to see how big a splash you can make. After trying out a number of smaller rocks, Isaac settled for a big boulder that probably weighed half as much as he does, and he lobbed it in. Now that was quite a splash!

The path led us along the river's edge and up to a pretty waterfall. I honestly could have sta there all day just listening to the sund of the water trickling down from up high. It was such a peaceful spot witht he pool of water at the base every bit as inviting as it was last time we came here.

Instead of taking the more epic route we followed with Mayuko last time, we double-backed on ourselves and made our way to the main canyon where tunnels and caves
Swing BridgeSwing BridgeSwing Bridge

Glynn, Mia & Isaac look for a cable to loosen just to make the bridge more exciting for the next passer by..
had been excavated by the miners over 100 years ago. The tunnels were long enough and dark enough to be home to a smattering of glow worms with their feint turquoise lights dotting the ceiling every so often. Some elderly American tourists walking close by us were truly bowled over at the sight.

Today we were lucky enough to find the tunnels on the opposite side of the gorge to be open (last visit they were completely close off due to a landslip). We made our way into one gloomy cavern and found remnants of old mining carts and equipment. Isaac threw a rock into a well-shaped opening and it was a very Lord of the Rings moment - remember the bit when one of the hobbits dislodges some armour that falls down, down and down into the depths of the mines of Moria awakening the Balrog? It was just like that!

The path continued round the edge of the valley, all carved out of the sheer rockface around us. Further on the river turned into mini rapids featuring some of the biggest boulders I have ever seen. Isaac wasted no time in leaping out onto the first
Fly FishingFly FishingFly Fishing

Is that J R Heartley?
big rock and then step-stoned across until he was on the biggest boulder of them all. Not something I would have tried in a hurry but it was obviosuly a perfectly normal thing to him! I was impressed when Mia followed behind him, not least because she is nowhere near as long-legged as her man!

It was a lovely way to end their stay with us and we were quite sad to say goodbye the following day at the airport. Still, I get the feeling we'll be seeing each other again soon, possibly in Canada when Mia's all settled and if Glynn and I can save enough for a big winter holiday there some time.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Jishangahake GorgeJishangahake Gorge
Jishangahake Gorge

He's a handsome bugger, isn't he? And doesn't he know it!
The Tunnel of DoomThe Tunnel of Doom
The Tunnel of Doom

Mia, Isaac and Jude before entering the 1km tunnel of darkness...

Can anyone else make out a face poking out his tongue?

Bearing in mind that Isaac is VERY tall, you can tell that this waterfall must be VERY high!!
Big Bear and Little BearBig Bear and Little Bear
Big Bear and Little Bear

Are Glynn and Jish wearing matching t-shirts?
Karangahake GorgeKarangahake Gorge
Karangahake Gorge

The gorge in all its glory :-)

Oh no, it looks like Glynn's in trouble...
Rock HoppersRock Hoppers
Rock Hoppers

and here they are, this years King and Queen rock hopping champions!
Just JudeJust Jude
Just Jude

And to prove I was there too...
Tunnel TimeTunnel Time
Tunnel Time

One of the myriad mining tunnels hewn through the chunky rockface.

When you emerge from the dark mining tunnels, this spectacular view awaits you!

Last time we could only go as far as the bridge here but today we could go into the cave on the other side and then follow the pathway to the right. It was awesome!
Swing Bridge 2Swing Bridge 2
Swing Bridge 2

The swing bridge saboteurs are back!
Valley BearValley Bear
Valley Bear

look who's back again!
valley Viewvalley View
valley View

you can't beat scenery like this, eh?

10th November 2009

loved the up date thanks
Hi Both I have read viewed and enjoyed (as always) thanks for up date. Question how do you manage to write caption on your photos? love and hugs Margaret I have a very sad ps, do you remember Bert? mums next door neighbour in Hull? he died yesterday at the very ripe age of 94ish bert had a long life and had all of his marbles to the end. The saddest part for me is that I wont be able to say goodbye but on a positive note he was staying with his niece at the time so was amongst friends

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