Wednesday, April 09, 2014

White-water Rafting - A New Experience

White-water rafting is something we've seen on television, but never dreamed we'd be doing. 

While at Turangi we heard about the water rafting opportunity through an employee who attended an information session at our timeshare resort. We decided to try it out.

You can't afford to attend every attraction in an area, but the idea of water and a lovely river appealed to us.

Both Christina and I have had extensive canoeing experience at Mount Isa and the Gregory River a couple of hundred kilometres from The Isa.  We'd canoed in small rapids and large lagoons and were fairly adept at keeping the canoe upright and heading in the direction we wanted ... most of the time. White-water rafting seemed to be an extension of our existing experience.

A bus from the Tongariro River Rafting company picked us up from our accommodation early morning and we headed off to their workshop. At the workshop we pulled on a full-body wet suit, a pair of rubber boots, flotation vest, and a helmet. We were given a safety induction and then back on the bus to the Tongariro River.

Getting the wet suit on was a challenge. Two of us, one guy who claimed to be an experienced diver, pulled the suits on inside out and had to then pull them off and redress. He was 30 years younger than me and seemed to cope much easier, but just getting dressed gave me a good workout. I was almost stuffed before we started.

At the river we carried the raft to the waters edge, hopped in and off we went for a three hour trip down the Tongariro. It was fantastic.

Half way we pulled up at a large rock ledge jutting out from the river and were invited to jump into the water. Being a strong swimmer and not having been into a river for a few years, Robin decided to take the jump. Not only was the water wet, it was absolutely freezing.

We got back into the raft and completed our journey.

Back at the workshop, the team provided us with a great lunch of sandwiches with meat and salad which was most welcome after having burnt up so many calories paddling.

We both enjoyed the experience immensely. It was a professional operation done very well by a dedicated team. I think it cost us about $100 per head ... money well spent.

If you ever get to Turangi, you must try the white-water rafting experience. Trust me, you'll love it.


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Turangi Tongarira

Most time share resorts run a similar program; you arrive as you do at any motel and are given keys and told where to find your accommodation. Some time during the week, the hosts run a get-together where you meet the other occupants and get the low-down on local sights, events and discounts they can provide for various activities. The hosts hand out brochures and maps and no doubt get a benefit from sending you to various venues. That's business.

Some offer a discounted "resort meal" for guests during the week and "happy hours" once or more during the week. Usually the resort has a stack of different games, books, videos, bikes, rafts and other things you can use while you are there. What you can do of course reflects what is available in house and locally. Kaimanawa Resort at Turangi was no different, but the buildings were all pine, with lovely polished pine walls and ceilings throughout. It reminded us of the timber cabins in which we had stayed in Canada. Hosts Rae and Jim were lovely people too, which made staying there all the better.

Turangi is another lovely NZ town with nice wide roads, well defined shops, roundabouts, clean streets and plenty of trees and greenery. There are many more Moari visible there than say at Queenstown and one New Zealander told me that the Moari had moved to the far northern parts of NZ to avoid the cold. It made sense why we saw few Moari in Queenstown, although there are no doubt more living there.

Turangi is near Taupo and the region is, among other things, famous for having a large number of prisons and hydro-electric power stations. Apparently at Turangi large numbers of the people work for the prisons department. The others are family members of those imprisoned. It must make for an interesting social mix within the town.

We nearly wore ourselves out walking around the lake at Turangi. We set out intending to do three or four kilometres and finished up doing eight, a fair portion of which was uphill. There is a maze of walking trails, a suspension bridge that wobbles when you cross it, and some great views of the township from the top of a nearby hill which descends onto a traffic bridge at the edge of Turangi. Walking through the lines of ferns, trees and other shrubbery is invigorating.

Both Christina and I have Fitbits, little electronic gadgets that track our daily walking, stairs climbed, calories burned, and more, so we record our activities and intend to incrementally improve our fitness.

The day after our Great Walk, we rocked up at the Turangi Tongarira Rafting Company for a white water rafting experience. I'll tell you about that in my next post and show you some action photos of we two tackling the waves.


Aussie Soles for comfort