This is us enjoying my first attempt at a river-bed camp fire!
Miles Walked = 150 approx.
( a small chunk but we’re just warming up eh ;) )
Best Free Item = Offer of a house for the week by a woman literally just driving past.
Best Animals Spotted = River Eel / Shark / Stingray / Wild Pigs
Most Fun = Kayaking around the waterfall
Biggest Relief = Getting out of the jungle / Finding water / A Flush-toilet !
Best Meal = Pepper Fillet Steak at Beachcomber in Kaitaia
Most interesting character = Alan. Bus driver, tourguide, lighthouse keeper, bee keeper, environmentalist, farmer, historian and comedian. This guy needs to go on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Most Interesting Facts Learned =
#1 = You can make socks out of Possums
#2 = Leaves preserved in sand can stay green for 40,000 years
#3 = Pulling a needle and thread through a blister can fix it
#4 = Don’t flip over an object on the beach (especially if its dead) unless you want a mouthful of evil bugs… Again – yawning in the jungle can rapidly lead to unwanted protein intake…
#5 = Gorse is bloody sharp!
Our first region, county, state, not sure what they call it over here, but according to the trail notes we’ve left the Far North and are now in Whangarei, yey :D This has been our warm-up section doing modest mileages each day to get in shape. I think we’re getting there and starting to pick up the pace. Certainly feel warmed up, the weather has been brilliant, if anything too hot for me! Apparently it’s unusually dry for this time of year, so we’ve been pretty lucky I think. The variety of terrain we’ve covered has been quite an eye opener, lots of beach and forest, totally different to the mountains I’m used to.
Whoa, what a view! Loving all the colours in this shot, the red volcanic crater, the white snow, the yellowy mountains in the distance and the blue sky :) Definitely makes the 2-3 hour side trip worthwhile. As a bonus, we were now out of sync with the main caterpillar train of folk on the crossing, so the rest of the day felt a bit less busy.
We managed to beach ourselves on a tiny area of pebbles after coming out again, and smacking my knees on some rock. Not happy! I was freaking out a bit to be honest. I’m never getting back in a kayak. Cookie went roaming off to get help. I was a bit worried about him wading straight into the river! But really thankful rescue would only be a few hours away. But I was only sat soggy on the side for a few mins before Cookie returns triumphant with Don the Farmer in his ute! The two of em dragging the heavy kayak up the steep grassy hill. What a relief!!
We couldn’t phone for help (no signal), we could flag down a passing canoe, but might be the end of the day before they were in a position to get word to Taumarunui Canoe Hire. The best option looked like just walking back, only was about 4 miles of farmland, jeep track and roads to get me back to the hire place, so I went back into the river (had to be on the wrong side of it didn’t we..) After swimming across the river, I made my way towards the farmhouse where I would hopefully pick up a track to take me back to the road..
Currently we’re chilling in the guest house up at the kayak place. It’s been pouring down and the wind has got up. We camped last night and all our clothes were soaking and mud covered… Ergh. The river looks wide a brown with flood water now… Should we try again tomorrow? I’m petrified! : /
There’s a fine line between brave and stupid? For me anyway! I think some of these Kiwis are rock hard.
I’m still blown away by ‘Kiwi Hospitality’, Don & Cherie were so kind and really looked after us :) Anyhow back to the beef, turns out we were shipwrecked on no normal farm, by the look of all the ‘Meat Awards’ hung on the farmhouse wall, this was a serious meat manufacturing farm of excellence, which has won the ‘Best Beef in New Zealand Award’ a number of times. When the Karen (Canoe hire lady) picked us up, all she could talk about was “Have you seen the muscles on his bull calves, oh my gawd they’re amazing. Even his bloody cows have massive arse muscles”. I don’t know much about cows, but I’d agree, they did have big back ends, I also knew those backends were responsible for a good deal of unpleasantness I’d just dragged my kayak through… Poor Josh (our recently hired river guide), got a whole Croc (sandal) full of it.. “It’s alright” he says, “they’re not my Crocs!” Ha ha, always look on the bright side eh?
Josh spent the last few rapids taking us the ‘renegade route’, trying to lure all our canoe stalkers over the more ‘exciting’ parts of the rapids ;) Giving our bunch at the front a bit of entertainment as soggy faces appeared round the corner!
Actually the scream above is for illustrative purposes only :) There was no screaming or stressing, in fact, I was pretty calm given the situation. But sometimes it’s wise to know when you’re out of your depth eh. And when the wind starts to ramp up that heavy, it’s time to pack up the lunch box and set a course for a duvet :)
I could tell by Nicky’s voice that she’d had enough, so didn’t try to change her mind. Shame because we were almost at the top and would soon be on our way back down to around the 1000m mark and walking into the wind. So defeated we made a retreat back the way we came..