Lauren and David in New Zealand and Fiji 2007-2008 travel blog

Kaituna River

Kaituna 3 Meter Drop

Kaituna River Pool

Kaituna River 7 Meter Drop

Kaituna River 7 Meter Drop

Kaituna River 7 Meter Drop

Kaituna River 7 Meter Drop

Getting Soaked in the River

Off Road Racing

Skeet Shooting Roturua

We woke up this morning to the best pancakes either of us ever had. "Bon Apetit" is actually doing a story on Colleen's Pancakes. She makes them like my Grandma used to - basically frying the edges in butter. Makes them very crispy!.

We had a 10am date with the Kaituna River. Home of the highest rafting waterfall drop in the world - almost 22 feet! We drove about 20 minutes to meet our rafting guides - Steve and Paul - and a couple from Scotland also on their honeymoon joined us (they got married 7/28) - after about a 2 minutes crash course about class 5 rapids (highest rating on the scale) we were off. Lauren and I were astounded that they basically throw you in a raft without much training. The guide says that since New Zealand has basic health coverage covered by the government (even for foreigners) that no one sues if someone gets hurt - so it actually makes it more exciting because they don't scare or confuse you with don't do this or don't do that - basically they say if this happens - don't worry.

We entered the river and off we went. After about a minute came our first waterfall (1 meter) and it seemed huge. The rapids look like you would expect class 1-5 rapids (certain points are class 1, 3, 4 and 5) to be - very fast rushing white water. We then went over a 2.5 meter one and we were soaked - we had 3 commands that we had to adhere to. Forward row, backward row and hold on - which basically meant get the fuck in the boat and hold on.

When the 7 meter drop came - the guides stop the boat and ask if anyone wants out. Of course no one got out - but the anticipation of it gets your adrenaline pumping. As you can see from the pictures, we go completely under water. It was awesome - but there was more. We then quickly entered into class 4 rapids and more waterfalls - and we quickly heard "Hold on", and Lauren was thrown across the boat and her paddle became like an axe to my left shin and right knee. She also threw her knee into the paddle and both of us were in extreme pain for about 5 minutes. But the water is cold enough to feel like you have an ice pack on it. The guides then steered the boat back into the waterfall and told us to go to the front of the raft and basically get doused with water. Imagine sticking your face in front of a dam that has just broken. Basically that is what it feels like - you can't breathe nor see anything. It was great!

After rafting we decided to go do some off road racing. We found a place about 20 minutes north of Roturua. When we arrived at the "Off Road NZ" facility - we realized not everything was going to be 'life experiences' - this place was a dump. They advertised an off road racing track, skeet shooting and a hole in one golf range. Well the race track was basically a circle of dirt with and the car looked like it was 30 years old. The track record was 11.05 seconds - Lauren and I did 13.15 - not very good but Lauren did squeeze my left leg so hard that it turned blue.

Next was the hole in one golf - if you get a hole in one you win $1000 - so I was excited about this one. When I saw the hole I couldn't believe it - it was a 20 yard chip into a fish pond with a flag that was on a 1 foot by 1 foot piece of Astroturf. I actually rolled one past the cup (after it bounced out of the water)

Skeet shooting - well let's just say - we were joined by the offspring of Ned Beaty in Deliverance. It was fun but not recommended.

We stopped by a Blueberry Winery on the way back home. I never knew they make wine from Blueberries - if you never knew it either - forget it after reading this - it sucks!

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