Monday, October 12, 2009

New Zealand Part Deux

Back for more are you?

Day 3
Sunday funday held most true this week. We got the adrenaline pumps cranked up as we journeyed via bus to the white water rafting spot on the Shotover river. The bus ride alone was terrifying, the road up the mountain was a goat path until last

week I think and I am pretty sure our bus driver had been been up for the past 3 days drinking, he smelled like it at least. We got on the

river in a 15ft raft with two Aussie women and a French guy that got a new name because our rafting guide didn't like Fredrick, we called him Freddie or Kruger. KC was our guide and he is personified every stereotype one would have of a a whitewater guide in New Zealand. Outrageous, but full of knowledge about the history of the river as well as rafting itself, KC took us on a “SWEET AS” (Kiwi for totally awesome) 2 hour ride down grade 4 and 5 rapids. The highlight at the end was a straight drop out of tunnel into water about 15ft below, had it not been for Deb's incredible forearm strength I would have been swimming the last ½ mile outside the raft. She totally Hasselhoffed me!

We grabbed dinner that night in town (Pog Mahonies, thanks Blake for the tip) and slept easy knowing the rapids were behind us.

(Joe wishes he could catch trout this big!)

Day 4

Monday morning came pretty quick as we stayed up later than we expected chatting with an Aussie family parked next to our campervan at the Holiday Park Motor Camp. Very nice people with three kids and loads of stories about their family adventures. Anyway, it was a mad dash out the door as we had to cover 171km to get to Manoupori, home of Doubtful Sound and the Manoupori power station. We booked ourselves on an all day tour of the sound and power station which is an incredible feat of engineering.

Doubtful Sound is the cousin of the much more popular Milford Sound, but its actually 3x bigger and only hosts two tours a day compared to Milfords 50 or 60, we literally had the place to ourselves and 65 of our new friends. Deb and I braved the initial crossing of Lake Manoupori on top of the boat, it was blowing about 30mph winds, but the pictures we snapped were well worth the raw fingers and nose. After crossing the lake we hopped a bus for a short ride over a mountain to the actual Doubtful Sound, so named because Captain Cook did not think it was much more than a small harbor when he explored the region on his famous voyage. It is the closest one can come to stepping back to the times of Gawanda (not Gandolf), the ancient landmass, when all the continents were touching. Spectacular mountains rising up out of the water formed huge valleys were home to all sorts of animals and birds. This is where my mind will go everytime I read my favorite book Where the Wild Things Are. The day ended with our trip into Moordoor and me returning the ring of power I found while at Lake Tepako. Actually, it was the Manoupori power station, which, is an awesome example of human ingenuity, strength and general get'r done attitude. The details of how it works, its cool history and construction can be found with a simple Google search, but our highlight was when the bus we were on went underneath the mountain 2km to see the actual power station. There in the depths I threw the Ring of Power into the great chasm and saved mankind or we took a brief tour way down in the mountain and got a crash course in hydro-electric power. It was like a whole day of just science class and we are blessed to have had it!

So, the epic blog entry is complete. Lesson learned on waiting so long to update, expect it more frequently, but no promises as New Zealand comes first!

(Joe & Deb on Doubtful Sound)

1 comment:

  1. We know what pog mahonies is (are?) since watching a special on eco New Zealand tourism on public tv last night. However, what is the meaning of the German, *hassenhoffed?* Wronka elders