Unfortunately we couldn’t stay longer in Taupo to attempt the Tongariro Crossing another day. Instead we were carrying on our journey to River Valley, so back on the bus we went, after the usual frantic packing and quickly eating breakfast routine of course.
We did manage to see some of the Tongariro National Park as we drove through it on our way out of Taupo to stop and visit the Taranaki Falls, which was great – except for the fact that it was pouring with rain…
Nevertheless, off we went on the walk across terrain that really reminded me of home. Seriously, I could have been walking in the Brecon Beacons, with the scrub, mounatins and rocky streams, but espeically with the rain!
The walk was around an hour and a half, so we were all completely soaked through by the end. We’d planned to have lunch in front of the falls, but it was raining to hard for that so we postponed our picnic until we were back on the bus in the dry. Without the rain, the walk would have been 10x more enjoyable…
But on we went to River Valley. Our accomodation was a secluded wooden lodge, surrounded by mountains and bright green grass. As we arrived, there was a roaring fire going. We stayed in one long bunk room which slept around 40 people with attresses all lined up next to each other. Minus the snoring of course, it was actually a lot of fun, and certainly something different!
That night we’d paid to have a roast dinner cooked for us, and it was so worth it! We devoured the roast beef, roasties, yorkshire puddings, sweet potato, pumpkin, cauliflower cheese and peas that was put infront of us, all doused with gravy of course. Like the roast we’d had in Rotorua, it tasted so good after all our simple hostel meals. After dinner we split into teams and played the Logo game and Cluedo (which Harry and I managed to win!)
The next morning we were up, dressed and ready to go white water rafting before 8am. We were all given a safety briefing before getting changed into all the gear. Unlike the black water rafting we’d done in Waitomo, we actually put on dry wet suits – so much easier! So we were all kitted out with thermals, wet suits and helmets, before getting a lift upstream to our starting point.
Split into groups of seven, the three of us grouped up with the other group of four we’d befriended, and met our hilarious guide Dan. Admittedly, I was a bit aprehensive about getting thrown into the water and loosing my glasses, but it was completely fine and I had so much fun!
Dan told us exaclty what to do and when to paddle forward and backwards, and even provided us with Whittakers chocolate along the way (NB: Whittakers is delicious!). As a group he made us laugh a lot which was awesome, especially as Jade and I were nervous about the rafting. We went down lots fo grade 5 rapids without anyone falling out so that was pretty awesome.
We were the first group back to our accomodation so we were also the first to have a nice, but very very quick, hot shower. We were jumping back on the coach that afternoon so there was just enough time to cook and woolf down some pasta before walking up the hill to meet the bus and be on our way to Wellington.