Back to school….AWESOME! But before we really started getting into the swing of things, five of us girls decided to have a last hoo-rah. Our decision: camping, white-water rafting, and skydiving. I think we chose well for a fun-filled weekend pre-classes starting.
So we rented a car Friday afternoon, grabbed two tents and off we went! Five girls, one weekend. You would think uh oh, DRAMA!, but all was well! We had an incredible time.
Friday night, we just drove to a campsite outside Rotorua to be closer to our white-water rafting destination. Then, Saturday was white-water rafting day!!! Our trip consisted of 14 rapids and the “Big Waterfall” along the Kaituna River. The “Big Waterfall” is a 6-7 meter drop depending on the water levels, the day we were out was a pretty high day. Our group had us five girls and then one other woman from Australia, plus our two guides (one was in training). The whole experience was super fun. The water consistently splashing everywhere on the rapids, all of us screaming at higher than normal pitches, and constantly hearing laughter in between the screams and expletives. Now on the “Big Waterfall” there is a 10% chance your boat will flip over upon landing….ours did not! Although one boat out of the three on the trip did. Nice work ladies!…..Yet, we spoke too soon. The guides do this thing called rapid surfing where they negotiate the raft to hit bottom of the rapid and it rushes the front with water. So our guide in training took over after the waterfall and tried this with us a bit later. We flipped. On this set of rapids, there is about a 1% chance the boat will flip, or so the experienced guide told us. It was a very surreal moment as the boat started going a little more under the rapids than the first time we had rapid surfed and I suddenly was over and looking down at my friend who had been next to me. Next thing I knew, we were all falling into the water and being rushed forward by the current. I finally caught hold of a rock when one of the kayaker guides on our trip picked me up and pulled me along to a raft. The next minutes were crazy! Our raft continued down the river and we were coming up on another set of rapids so one of the other rafts in the group rushed to pull all of us girls into their boat. So there we were, totally piled into the raft with the guides yelling for anyone to grab an oar to paddle through the rapids. Finally we successfully got through the rapids and jumped ship onto our own raft to finish the trip. Intense! And totally worth it! Grade 5 rapids. Dominated by the Americans.
Since we dominated the rapids like champions, we thought we could use some reward. Natural hot springs….I’d say sweet plan! So there is this place just outside Taupo where a smaller stream meets the river. The smaller stream is boiling hot so when it meets to cold river, depending on placement you have the perfect hot tub temp! Very touristy spot, but still worth the looksie. Very weird to go from burning hot to freezing cold but definitely a spot for nature’s wonders. Followed by delicious Thai food and a good night at the campsite.
Sunday morning, just about time to go home but we decided to just have a quick stop on the way. Ok so maybe not super quick….we decided to go SKYDIVING! Oh boy oh my! Four out of the five of us chose to jump out of a plane at 15,000 ft. Whatever, no big deal. Sidenote” we were attached to a professional, phew! But seriously, we suited up hopped in a small plane and got pushed out the side to see the world from a bird’s eye view. Imagine only being held by air and seeing the world. New Zealand, coast to coast. Enough clouds to count on one hand and a lake sprawled below you. That is skydiving. You would think scary right? No, the experience was exhilarating yet calming. I have been bungee jumping before and I reckon that was scarier. Bungee jumping consists of you, yourself jumping to a very visible world with a cord holding you from your death. Skydiving, there might not be any cords but the air feels like a net as you fall. It works against you so you never quite feel like you are actually falling. They encourage you to play with the air, and I highly recommend this as well! The feeling is unlike anything else. Much stronger than sticking your hand out the window on the highway. I pretended I was a fish and that I was swimming and all sorts of nonsense. Plus the views, the views are indescribable. It really puts a new perspective on perspective(haha). To imagine it’s just you high above the world, just admiring. Everything is so small, but to anyone looking up, so are you! The world is a beautiful place and I definitely would love to skydive again sometime. Although the lack of ear popping was painful, but that is my only complaint. Otherwise, we all found it amazing. I’ll fly anytime!
And so ended our last hoo-rah before classes started. We then did just drive back, enjoyed some traditional Kiwi fish n’ chips, and crashed from exhaustion to be able to start school the next day.