Paradise mixed with hell
21.12.2011 - 22.12.2011 20 °C
Day 58 (Wed 21/12/2011)
We got on kiwi bus and drove out to national park where we stopped for a 2 hour hike to see some waterfalls. When we got to the waterfalls a random guy propositioned me to go under the waterfall. I’d already felt the water and knew it was about 10 degrees (being snow melt off the mountain) but I took up the challenge anyway. The water was so cold and powerful, it hurt my head so much standing under it; it was definitely the coldest water I’d been in so far.
In the freezing waterfall
Check out how big it is
View of the mountain
After I finished playing we headed back to the bus and were on our way on the fairly long trip to river valley. By now we were so sick of the overpriced hostels the kiwiEx takes us to, we take whatever option we can to do something else. Now we had a tent and a load of sleeping stuff this was pretty easy; we planned just to hike off for a bit and set up our own camp carrying all the provisions we needed.
The plan didn’t quite work because the hostel people weren’t happy about people going off wild camping (it goes against their business plan of making as much money as possible). We ended up camping on site near the river.
River valley (Rivendale) is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen so far. The hostel is situated at the bottom of a huge scenic valley with an incredible river flowing through it; the river is so clear and fresh. It’s like paradise mixed with hell because it’s infested with millions of sand flies, these tiny black flies that relentlessly swamp around you and give you a nasty bite. They are particularly nasty because they are so small you often can’t feel them on you.
We had to camp in the middle of this but once in the tent (having killed all the flies that got in) it was actually fine; going back outside was the biggest nightmare.
Day 59 (Thu 22/12/2011)
In the morning we had until midday so we slept in, ate and then went on a short gorge walk up the river.
The river was really fast flowing and was impossible to cross at some points but further up the river was an incredible waterfall coming straight down the cliff into the water. From here I floated back down the river in the rapids, hitting many rocks on the way down. Once back at the hostel site I swam for a while in the river (it was the only safe place to escape the sand flies); one of the nicest rivers I’ve ever been in.
I was happy to leave this place as the sand flies spoil everything, you literally can’t do anything outside unless you are completely under the water which is too cold to stay in. We were away on the bus before 13:00 heading down to Wellington.