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White Water Rafting in Rotorua – Day 29
Monday 25th April 2005
So far Rotorua has proven itself to be every bit as fun and exciting as Taupo had been. What a great part of the world this is, with everything you could want all within an hour drive away. I had no idea what today would bring, but I hoped it would be something equally as memorable, especially as today was White Water Rafting day. But would it be everything I had hoped it would be?
By now, getting up and dressed and ready for the day had become second nature to me. It’s how every day starts, and today was no different. I had planned to go Zorbing this morning in preparation for my afternoon on the river, so off I set in my nice red car.
It had been a little wet during the night, the rain played a big part in this, and subsequently the grass all about me was much more slippery. I wondered if this would have an impact on the Zorbing, as I knew it would take place down a grassy slope. Nonetheless I drove on, and shortly arrived at the place where all the fun was.
It looked rubbish! Utter rubbish! There was a queue as long as a football pitch, with people standing three or four abreast, and I knew if I was to wait, I would probably still be waiting when the sun finally burns out. To top it all, the Zorbs, (or whatever they are called), rolled down the hill at one kilometre per month, reaching the bottom of the hill with great difficulty it seemed. If this is what it is like now with the grass being wet, I wonder how slow it would be in the dry. People who had paid good money and allowed themselves to be subject to this underwhelming activity, brave as they were, pulled themselves out of the ball at the bottom of the hill with a look of utter disappointment. I figured I could roll down the hill sideways on my own and get some people to splash me with a bit of water as I passed them, and experience something akin to this Zorbing. So it wasn’t hard for me to decide to give it a miss.
I’m sure I just picked the wrong place or the wrong day, as I have heard from many people that Zorbing is good fun. Maybe my expectations were much too high. Either way, I’m sure people will tell me I missed out on something good, but I honestly think I can live with that. I will try it some day, most definitely down a steeper hill though!
I spent much of the rest of the morning driving about, looking for something to do, but being Anzac Day (Remembrance Day), most of the places were closed until at least 12:00. I decided to go back to the hostel and have some lunch. I stayed here until the time had come to go White Water Rafting.
I met up with a few others at the main reception area before hopping aboard the mini bus to be taken to the location. Also on the mini bus were a couple from Holland, and two guys and a girl from Germany. They all appeared very friendly.
At the river we were introduced to our guides, given a quick run through on the rules, then kitted up ready to start. The guides looked good fun and quite mischievous as well. I thought it was going to be good fun, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
It was actually brilliant, and much faster along the river than I had thought. The guides messed about a bit, but it was all good-humoured. There was a point where the guides messed about so much that we ended up descending a small waterfall sideways, not as they had planned. The result was a bit of carnage in the raft, as paddles flew about all over the place. The German girl fell into the centre of the raft, and I fell on top of her, injuring her leg. I tried to say sorry but she didn’t understand me. Her friend understood and said it was not my fault, and explained the girl was not angry with me, although she looked in a bit of pain. The guides felt very guilty after this and apologised frequently.
Nonetheless, the activity went on, and all bad feeling soon faded away as the adrenaline took hold. The guides were much more serious now, and the rest of the rafting went without hitch, although the big waterfall drop was particularly hairy, and we almost capsized. It was so much fun, and I would love to do it again. We had to paddle hard at times, and position our bodies to best take the upcoming rapids. Most of the time, though, we just had to hold on tight and let nature forge our path. Everybody was buzzing by the end of it all, and there were no hard feelings, although more apologies from the guides. It was great!
I had to endure the coach journey back with a different group of people, most of whom were English, and loud, and annoying. Being English myself, I know what we are like, and these people were no different. One girl was throwing herself at one of the instructors. He was good-looking I must admit, but it was embarrassing from the girl I thought. Anyway, it wasn’t long before we arrived back at the main building, and I met up with the people on my raft. We looked at the pictures taken, and shared a laugh or two. After which we shook hands and parted company. The German guys and girl were extremely decent people, very friendly, and they made it clear that they didn’t want me to feel bad about the girls leg. By now she was OK anyway, just a little achy. One of the people from Holland had a paddle hit them in the face in the same incident, so it was a bit of mayhem. I thoroughly enjoyed it though.
Back at the hostel, I had some dinner, then went to bed, looking forward to the prospect of seeing Hobbiton tomorrow. (A scene from Lord of the Rings).
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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