Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sport fanatics

On top of rugby, which I have already talked about, kiwis are crazy about sports and are definitely adrenaline junkies. Afterall they have invented bungy jumping!
I was not ready for bungy jumping (I can still feel my heart pumping from the sky diving last year) so we did some black water rafting in Waitomo caves, some skiing in the Tongariro national park, followed by hiking and finally White water rafting near Rotorua. And I'm still supposed to call that holidays!

Despite the water temperature (I would say around 10C), the black water rafting in the caves was probably the easiest activity. A couple of jumps and a lot of floating admiring the glow worms.
Skiing was a nice unexpected surprise. We had planned to do some serious hiking (that I was not totally convinced by). The day before, we went to get information at the tourist point when we were asked if we had crampons and ice axe. Hmmm no.... Apparently the hike is still covered with snow and ice. Other options were skiing or do a lower altitude walk. As we couldn't make up our mind, we went for both! 3h30 ski on the morning followed by 4h trek.
While enjoying the deserted slopes, the slow lifts and the spring snow, we were stopped by the following announcement:
This is a volcanic emergency announcement, please move immediately to higher grounds...
All lifts had stopped, a few people were moving and we were seriously wondering what was going on! So we moved to higher ground, waited for a bit (for the volcano to explode!) and after a while when the lifts restarted we went back down the mountains and that's only at this point that they made another announcement: we have now completed the volcanic emergency test thank you....
Great! Thanks! I'll remember my first time skiing on a volcano!
Hiking would have probably been a really relaxing walk if we hadn't been short on time. Most people were on their way back when we started the walk!
So, the 7h30 walk (according to the sign) was finished by a very grumpy M in 4h15!!! It was still beautiful...
Finally White water rafting. I have kept the best for the end. On the way to Rotorua we had stopped a couple of times to see famous rapids and falls so it wasn't a surprise that there was lots of rafting around. The trip sounded good: the biggest commercially raftable water fall in the world (7m) but the only requirement was to be above 13 years old, no previous experience required. Perfect! We got equipped with several layers of wet suits, splash jacket etc and then the training came in the bus to the starting point. Here are the key things to remember (then you tell me how you feel):
- if falling in the water, do not stay vertical, put your feet up immediately (otherwise broken leg will be the best outcome...)
- in the water fall, do not come out of the boat, hold and hold tight!
- if the boat flips, do not let go of the boat?!?!!!? Breath inside, then only come out when you hear banging on the boat
- if you let go of the boat, you'll get caught in the "washing machine system" of the fall (meaning you'll stay under water). Form a canon ball and the washing machine will expel you......
Now we can go rafting!!!
Imagine how delighted I was! Anyway, the boat did not flip and I managed to stay in the boat despite being shaken like mad. ( the boat went first completely vertical before going completely under water)
Now we are back to the adrenaline junkies that are singaporian taxi drivers ;-)


  1. Hmmm... the snow !... I like that !

  2. Elle est ou la lave du volcan????