Camping at Huka Falls

Posted by Spalding Hurst

March 22, 2004

I am in a tent right now camping beside a river.  I thought I should take a moment before I go to sleep to write on here a little bit.  Yesterday was a very cool day. I stumbled across this small town that reminded me of Bardstown.  They had lots of little antique stores and cafes.  It looked like all the big city Wellingtonians had come there for a Sunday retreat from the city.  Just a bit outside of Greytown is the beginning to the Waiohine river.  I thought I would go there and check to see where the put-in and take-out points were so that Justin and I could kayak it later on in the week.  There was this very cool swing bridge there.  I thought the last one I saw was Indiana Jones like, but this one was much scarier.

Anyways I was about to leave the gorge, a little confused about where the run began and ended, here come a group of paddlers.  So I kayaked with them.  They were a group of teachers from Greytown.  For many of them it was there first trip down a river.  They were led by a very cool rafting guide named Tom.  He is the first Maori I have paddled with.  So what was going to be a simple drive in and check it out, turned out to be a great day of paddling.  I think I will certainly go back to Greytown on my way back south from where I am.

Last night I stayed in a small town called Ekabana or something like that.  They had a very cool hotel with a bistro and bar connected on to it.  I ate a steak, drank Old Dark, my current favorite New Zealand beer, and watched rugby highlights while the bartender explained some of the league rules to me.  They had a guest registry with names of guest dating back to 1976.  They only averaged about 5 guests a month according to the ledger.  The place was very old.  It had a bathtub, but no shower.  I took a bath.  I haven’t had a bath in a long time.  But I had one in New Zealand.

Today I really wanted to see some NCAA tournament action, but I could not.  I tried, but it just isn’t on over here.  I was sad that I was missing it all.  But then I found out that Kentucky lost to UAB on the internet.  And Louisville lost on Friday.  So I was not sad anymore.  Because the tournament is over for all of us.  Except you guys are still in Kentucky (most of you) and I am still in paradise.

Today I drove a lot.  I am going to Rotorua and I am almost there.  Hopefully I can get in a good kayaking trip there and then head back down south.  Tonight I am camped at a free campsite 500m down from the most hellacious rapid I have ever seen, Huka Falls.

That thing is crazy, and the fact that some people have kayaked over it is even crazier.  The falls are not what are so wild.  It’s the chute leading into it.  I’ll get some video of it in the morning.  Good night, well you guys are getting ready to wake up and go to work, so, good morning everybody, I am going to bed.

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