Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clippty Clop..

Meet George, George is a 17 year old thoroughbred...with the stamina and mind set of a 4 year old race horse

Bling, George and Honey.

Me and George met at River Valley lodge and went for a gallop among the hills... no joking it was probably one of the best treks I have been on. I even got to take George over some log jumps.

George likes to Gallop and race the other I had my hands pretty full for the two hour trek. At the end I had blisters and bruises in strange places and a huge smile to go with it.

At the end of the trek, We got to hose and wash the horses down... George took it all in his stride and on his release back to the field prompty rolled around in a mud patch.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Goodbye South Island

With Ed back in the US enjoying the snow!! Our time in the South Island was drawing to a close.
We visited the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, taking in a storm and some adorable rescued penguins.

On our way up to Abel Tasman we couldn’t resist one last stop off in Murchison for a quick paddle.. we imagined this would be our last paddle before hitting the north Island.
At Abel Tasman we quickly retracted the idea of going sea kayaking due to terrible weather, instead Si worked out we had enough weather to hit a local run.

The Wakamarina turned out to be a nice little surprise…thanks to the rain it made it non stop class 3 gorge for 6km which we paddled all too quickly. It was stunning with Waterfalls falling in from all angles and a few streams that had we had more time we might have explored with our kayaks.

With our South Island days coming to a close quickly we spent our last full day Wine Touring the Marlborough Area. Hic Hic Four Wineries a Brewery later and we pulled into the last.. we were stopped dead in our tracks by an ambling adrenaline junkie of a hedgehog trying to cross the gravel path.. I quickly scooped him up and deposited him safely in the grass (not before getting some photo’s).

Our ferry crossing was stunning…but sadly no Dolphins…

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nevis and Fiordland

Before leaving Queenstown and heading South to Fiordland, we decided to try the Nevis River. We’d heard it was pretty hard, with people recommending camping at the put in for an early start, and planning on taking 10-12 hours the first time.

Since it was our first time, we set off early. Thankfully we had a shuttle driver. Thanks Cheryl. Ed and I got on pretty early, and moved quickly. Soon we were into the hard stuff, with an interesting seal launch round a dodgy looking rapid. From there on in it was nonstop fantastic boating. Most of it boat scoutable, some not. A few portages round sieved out, or enormous rapids kept us on our toes. After a lunch stop the rapid started to mellow out, and we were through the worst. We made the take out by 3pm. Shame our shuttle didn’t arrive to pick us up for another 3 hours. Well we did think it would take us longer!

From there we drove to Fiordland. We’d hoped there would be some rain to bring the rivers up, and we weren’t disappointed. As soon as we arrived, we hopped onto the Hollyford. Supposedly an easy section, but it was pretty high…… Some serious boat rescuing filled the remainder of the day, and even continued the next day.

A nice easy paddle on the Cleddau took us into Milford Sounds. We met the Keas at the Homer Tunnel, who were happy to pose for us.
We were hoping to do the Arthur river, but didymo risks meant having to take a boat over the sound, which seemed all too difficult to arrange, so instead we returned to Gunns Camp, and paddled the classy Moraine Creek section of the Hollyford. Well worth it.

Now we say goodbye to Ed. Thanks for coming all the way from the US…. Its been great having you here!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Visitors and NZ classic West coast

We headed to Christchurch to pick Ed up. Coincidentally, Rob and Tim decided on a last minute visit to make best use of number. Suddenly the team had grown from 2 to 5! With larger numbers, faff factor increased, but we still managed to paddle every day (well some of the team at least).

Rob "forgot" his boating shorts - Forever Known as "Speedo-man"

Ed "resting up" between runs

First stop after picking up the new team members was a day or twos warm up at Merchison. We ran a couple of the classic Buller sections, and the nearby Maruia falls, before we decided it was time for something a little more demanding, the West Coast heli runs.

Surfing the Lyell Creek wave on the Buller

Driving out to the West coast, it was apparent that levels had dropped siginficantly since our last trip through several weeks ago. Levels were low and weather was good and stable, perfect heli run weather. Over the course of a week, we ran many of the classic West coast runs, the Hokitika, Arahura, Whitcombe, Whataroa, and Perth. We even found time for a rest day on the Chilly Fox River. We also met up and paddled with our friend from Cali and BC Dave, and made some new friends.

The "Gates of Argonauth" on the Upper Hokitika - An absolutely stunning place

Steep Gorge boating on the Hokitika.

Low volume and very steep on the Arahura

Big volume on the Whitcombe

Ed Boofing his way down the Upper Whataroa

West coast Heli runs can't be beaten. Steep, technical and numerous. Some of the best boating anywhere!!! But, having spent the GDP of a small south american country on Helicopter flights, we reluctantly decided to head to Queenstown and beyond for runs that could be shuttle by road.

Cheryl about to run Shark Fin on the Shotover Gorge.

Queenstown to Dunedin

Arriving in Queenstown, levels were great for the classic runs. Kawerau and the Shotover. Over a number of days we paddled various sections of the rivers, staying away from the gnarly Nevis Bluff and other dodgy sections. One of our favorites was the Upper Shotover, 10 Kms of classic play, where every 100 yards a perfect surf wave awaited. Only drawback was the extremely sketchy shuttle road. Hence the warning signs.

Queenstown has many great wineries, a great relaxing off the water activity.
We camped at the bottom of the Dog Leg section of the Kawerau. A great high volume run, with a few fantastic play waves.

After a few days at Queenstown, it was time to head to Dunedin to pick up a boat for Ed who was joining us soon. We visited a few of the main tourist attractions, which appealed to us greatly. The cadbury's factory and the Speights Brewery.
Leaving Dunedin and heading to Christchurch we stopped at an attraction listed in the lonely planet. The Moeraki boulders. These spherical boudlers are lodged in the sand, looking like abandoned dinosaur eggs.