3 March 2011
From Rotorua via Okere Falls
(Raften), Te Puia Geiser and
Wai-O-Tapu to Taupo.
3 March 2011
From Rotorua via Okere Falls (Raften),
Te Puia Geiser and Wai-O-Tapu to Taupo.
This is Karin's story:
I think that all of you will be very curious how it went with the rafting. I can tell this in 1 word SUPER. An experience that one never will forget. It all happens near the small village of Okere Falls named after these famous fall. Okere Falls lies just north of Lake Rotorua where the Kaituna River has a number of rapids and waterfalls. The trip contains also the Highest Commercial Rafted Waterfal (7 meters) in the world. With us there are about 15 - 18 people that will joins us. The organisatiion provides wetsuits, fleeces, booties, life jackets and helmets. After drssing we were divided over 3 boats and receive a 30 to 45 minutes dry-training first. Sitting in the boat on the grass and the skipper is giving the commands for peddling. I was sitting in the boat as a Queen because I have a good reason not using my arm for such a heavy duty as peddling. At the last moment I decided to leave my mask (because I can't stand water in my eyes) behind and that was a good decision due to all the pictures that were made of this trip.
It started reasonable quiet with some rapids. The first number were part of an official race track for white water courses. My team mates (7 + the skipper) were doing well and the only damage was a lot of water oin the boat and over us. Only one girl was a bit of a problem. She succeeded to drop 5 times over board, maybe because she was sitting behind Jaap. (haha). Sometimes it is difficult to recognize if it's a waterfall or a rapid. The boat sometimes goes very fast so the skipper is then heading for the riverside and bounced there to get the boat under control again. After about 30 minutes there is the big one; the Tutea Falls, a 7 meter "grade 5" drop. The heaviest category for "normal" untrained people.
The boat that went down before us had little problems maybe because they had 2 skippers (1 in training). We had to wait for the signal "All Clear" before we could make our run. And there was the whistle and we went up to the danger.
Rafting near Okere Falls (=link)
It was a very special experience; It felt if I was going down in a vacuum of water. I thought: "Stay calm and get up again". But the feeling was SUPER and very intense. When we were up and the water was gone it appeared that I was still in the boat. pfft. I looked behind me and YES Jaap was there too. Looking in the water we saw 3 member of our crew that went overboard. In a fast action with the other boat we got them back on board togtehr with the lost peddles. It was now time for the third boat and taht went wrong. This boat went upside down after coming up aain and all the member disappeared under the boat. Most of them appeared next to the boat in seconds but the woman who was as afraid as I was before leaving was still under the boat. Luckely the skipper had the boat turned within 20 seconds and we found the woman. Back in the dressing room (much later she was still shaking.
After the 7 meter drop there was a closer by a very clear 50 centimeters waterfall (rapid??) where we changed places and had to push the front of the boat under the water and then within half a second the boat was full of water. Fun-fun-fun.
Back in the new premisis at 391 State Hiighway 33 (much better then the older premesis near the white water course) the complete group saw some of the pictures that were made under great hilarity. Of course we bought the CD with the pictures an dpaid for the video that was send to our home adres. The video was shot by one of the crew that accompenied us in a small canoe. He had a videocamera on his helmet. I hope they never stop with this facality. And last but not least. The water has such a fine temperature due to all the thermal; activities around the kaituna River and Rotorua.
A shower and dry clothes returning to Rotorua with the campervan, where we make a stopover at the Wkakarewarewa Valley where the Thermal Park Te Puia is situated. In that park there is the Pohutu geyser. We walked through the park to the geyser and had to wait. Luckely after 10 minutes the geyser started to blow. Some days it erupts up to 30 meters (100 foot) high depending on her mood. The geyser erupts about 20 times a day and was the only reason for visiting the park although the Rotowhio Marae, the Maori house in the park very noice is. A Marae is the traditional meeting place of a tribe. After this short visit we travelled via Highway 5 to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. By parking I took the edge for parking to short on the empty parkingplace and hit a wooden pool. We were lucky that there was harly any damage only a few stripes that disappeared with a cleaner later this journey.
The biggest attraction in Wai-O-Tapu is the Champagne Pool. The terrestrial hotspring was formed about 900 years ago by a hydrothermal eruption (in geological terms a relatively young sytem). The crater is around 65 meters in diameter with a maximum depth of approximately 62 meters and is filled with a estimated volume of 50.000 cubic meters. The pool consists of many metals that have high concentration due to which it has to be covered with different types of deposits. Because the deposits evolve a lot of carbon dioxide which comes out like a glass of champagne so it has been named as Champagne Pool. It's ingredients include nitrogen, methane, hydrogen, hydrogin sulphide and the metalloid compounts such as orpiment and stibnite. After a one hour walk through the park we returned to the camper and drove to Taupo. I entered the All Blacks Shop in Taupo and told the man I was Jaap Postma from The Netherlands and the salesman went to the back and returned with a number of Polo shirts and shorts that I ordered for this day via the Internet. Now I could buy it for normal prices instead of double prices when the fly in in to the Netherlands. Most of the clothing were alright so I payed for those polo's and left the shop.
Back in the campervan we returned to the Huka Falls (=link) to see the rapids and the attractice waterfall. Returning because I had to be in the shop before 18.00 pm so we passed the Huka Falls earlier because of some time troubles. The rapids have a lenght of about 200 meters with a decay of 15 meters so the water reaches the fall with high speed. Every second almost 220.000 litres of water drops the over the cliff for the final drop. It's more then impressive how much noise all that water makes and the beautiful intence blue colour of the water. Back to Taupo and first we made the booking at the Holiday Park, were we got a special pass for the barrier control so we could return late. We went back to the city center, parked the campervan and walked to a terrace near Lake Taupo were we had a more then wonderful meal on a stone grill. We drove back in the dark, had some problems with finding of our spot, and went to bed. Tomorrow a travel day, heading for Wellington and then the ferry top the Southisland.