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Whataroa River Rafting

Okay, so sometimes you have a real need to be a little self-indulgent? Well, a trip on the Whataroa River back on 15/16 January 2010 was such an occasion for Andy who went solo down to Ross on the West Coast of the South Island for two days of white water rafting. Originally planned as a rafting trip on the Grade 4 Whataroa River on day 1 and rafting on the Grade 5 Perth River on day two, the trip ended up as two days on the Whataroa due to tree-fall on the Perth River demanding a long portage (deflate the raft, carry over an obstacle to another point where you can put the raft in and then reinflate).

The trip was organised by the wonderful people at Eco Rafting - Josh and Kirsten who were brilliant from start to finish and who were also assisted by Josh's friend Blue, who guided the second raft. Andy had to catch a flight to Christchurch and then another flight on a much smaller plane to Hokitika. He was picked up there by the Eco Rafting team and headed South towards Franz Josef Glacier for the put in at the Whataroa - just before entering Franz Josef village. Access to the upper reaches of the river is by Helicopter only, so after about half an hour or so of loading all the rafting gear in a net to be carried by the helicopter. There was another half an hour or so on arrival at the put in to inflate the rafts before the fun could really start. You should be able to get some idea of the fun had from the photos.

A big thanks to Josh and Kirsten who were incredibly accommodating, collecting Andy from Hokitika Airport at the start of the trip and dropping him off in Ross each night, then at Hokitika Airport again for departure. On top of this, Andy was invited round to their place for dinner each night and got to experience the fun of having to catch a neighbour's sheep which had escaped it's pen and a drive to the beach just outside of Ross towards the onset of evening one night.

Ross itself was a compact place, a former gold mining town where the main tourist attraction is the old mine workings which you can have a nose around. Well worth a visit if you're heading down the West Coast.

On the Whataroa River at one of the calmer points of the river on day one. Well, I'm still paddling, but I'm not sure what the guy next to me is doing sitting in the bottom of the boat. The guide, Blue, sits at the back of the raft looking unimpressed.
A little side-stream on the river offered an opportunity to pull the rafts over and explore a bit. There, we found a waterfall. We jumped in and swam up to and behind the waterfall.

Back on the river, and here we are all looking comfortable on a calm section of the river. Ahead of us lay some of the Southern Alps. The views were incredible both up and down the river.

Here we are on day two and the second trip down the Whataroa River. Yep, I have actually fallen out during the last rapid and have just about been pulled back in by one of my fellow rafters. For day two, we were on a much smaller raft that made it more capable of exciting manoeuvers... Which leads us on to...

This was us attempting (and succeding with a stunt) where the we all sat at the end of the raft and pulled it up on it's end  and spun it round. As you can see from this picture, we've just about gone past the point of no return. The raft does end up on top of all of us, but it was a stunt well done.
Anyone fancy a Retail Level turnover budget?
Top Left: At the beginning/end of the Whataroa rafting trip. Josh & Blue finish deflating the raft whilst the Whataroa flows on in the background. The concrete piers crossing the river are where the main road used to cross the river before being diverted further downstream

Top Right / Right: Sunset on the hills over Ross.

Bottom Left: The village of Ross with some of the old mine workings standing in the background.

Bottom Right: A lake near the old mine workings in Ross. This is actually the remnants of an old open cast Gold mine which has subsequently been transformed into a lake after closure. Gold mining is still active in Ross.
No. I haven't done that sodding outlet level retail budget yet.