Rafting the worlds biggest (raftable) waterfall

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of New Zealand  , Bay Of Plenty,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

We had to get up early today as we were going white water rafting. Before we joined the tour we decided we weren't going to do rafting having already done it in Ecuador however this river just happens to have the biggest commercially rafted waterfall in the world, we heard this and signed up immediately!
We headed to the office where we were kitted up with the necessary helmets and life jackets and then went to the river. The drive to the river involved the safety guy who would be following on a kayak telling us what to do in different events that can happen when we go over the 7m waterfall, the best option being none of us fall out, the worst that the boat flips and we get caught under the waterfall as if in a washing machine! We started to get nervous.
We arrived at the river and had to bow our heads while the guys said a mauri greeting to the river all the while scaring us with stories of 90kg eels which live here. Then it was time to get in the boat and go down a few practise rapids learning how to steer paddle and get into the brace position! We'd both been rafting a couple of times before and had never been taught the brace position!!
We'd all mastered the art of rafting and so we set off, we had 2 waterfalls to go down to begin with - a 2m one and a 1m one the first one went perfectly but on the second one the guy behind me didn't get into the right position- fell into me and got the handle of his paddle caught under the strap of my helmet yanking my neck backwards as we plummeted down this waterfall, it really hurt and so as we stopped and got another briefing before the final waterfall I made him swap with me!
My neck really hurt and made me even more nervous about going over the edge, tai was at the front and so got to see the drop before the rest of us, as we edged towards the drop our guide said "oh god I'm so nervous!" not really installing much hope for us and then it happened- we went over the edge, the raft was vertical as we all held on for dear life within seconds we hit the water at the bottom and the raft completely submerged beneath the water, then before we knew what happened we were floating again and it was just me, Katie and the guide left in the boat! We looked around and saw the other 4 manically swimming away from the waterfall to the safety of the river bank, we'd all made it! We pulled the others aboard and celebrated with a bang of paddles above our heads! It was an incredible feeling as we looked back and saw the waterfall we'd just rafted over! It was soon time to get on our way and we headed through a few more rapids, nothing feeling that scary after what we'd just done, we were then told we could go down the next rapid on our backs so we all jumped into the water and began floating downstream legs forward for fear of getting our feet caught in some rocks on the river bed, we passed through the rapids tumbling and rolling in the water as we were pushed under, we came up coughing and spluttering swimming as fast as we could back to the boat pleased we'd made it through! The next rapid was a fairly small one and we had to do it standing up holding our oars above our head it was really hard to keep our balance but none of us fell. To end it all we "surfed" the rapids where the instructor steered the front of the raft into the rapids creating huge waves and covering us all with water- especially me as I'd volunteered to go down the front and face the waves!
It had definitely been the best rafting experience either of us have had to date!
We were picked up by our magic bus to take us to the next place and we all sat together chatting about our fun filled morning. We had to stop and pick some others up from the hot pools where we got to see some bubbling mud pools as well, not the prettiest of sites but interesting. We then went to huka falls, a waterfall near taupo which has 20,000 litres of water a second falling over the edge, it was pretty impressive to see and the water was so blue.
There was just one more stop - the taupo bungee where we watched people jump over a river - our favourite, an American guy called Paul who had second thoughts just after going over the edge and ended up doing a mr bean style dive staying in the diving position most of the way down. We finally arrived in taupo at around 5 and soon headed straight out, we stopped and picked up some "fush and chups" and ate them by some hot springs a little out of town, all feeling extremely full and bloated we then walked up river a little way jumped in the river and floated down stream ended at the natural hot springs at the end. The water came from another river fell over some small waterfalls and dropped into the pools below, the water was boiling so hot that our roommate actually fainted which was really scary! As the sun went down we headed to a bar for a couple of drinks before hitting the base hostel bar later on - a note to self - never ever go there again!
A highlight of the night however was fist pumping with paul who was from new jersey and went to a school near the school j wow went to! Claim to fame!
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Dave on

Ha I got chucked out that base hostel bar for being too drunk.

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