Extreme Whitewater Rafting along the Tully River

Another early start, at 7am as Tully river is about 2 hours drive where we are going today for the whitewater rafting. Going with Raging Thunder, they are a great company and instantly make the group at ease explaining the few key safety things we need to know for the Extreme part of it. There is also a standard rafting trip, but it misses out the fun stuff and is usually all the people who are not very strong swimmers. We also only have 3 rafts vs 10 of the other group, so everything is much faster and we get more time on the river.

In our small coach, Extreme only the group end up with in my raft are really nice and great company for the day. There is an english couple on a 3 week holiday Leigh and Sarah, An Irish guy called Max who has been working in the mines and a guy from England called Chris with his friend Albin who is french, both working over here. The tour guide we get is Paul from New Zealand, who was recommended to me by Charlotte and is super funny and a definite character. He also seems to be the most experienced, and tells us about all the cool places he has rafted around the world for his job, which is pretty cool and makes me think that I should get into some sort of outdoor activity haha.

So we start into the rafting fairly quickly using the basic skills we need, which are paddling back or forward, hang on and hold, over the right/left and bounce for when we get stuck on rocks. It’s all really fast and at times gets a bit confusing, but the main thing need to do is make sure that the paddle is always well held and out of the way of the rest of the raft so don’t knock anyone over.

The river is absolutely beautiful and in-between the getting through tight spots, one scary bit being when the raft went into a taco shape and we were all being squashed together all unsure on how we going to get the raft out. Shortly after that Paul tell us we are going to get flipped over and the first time that happens it takes awhile to get used to a you end up under the raft and need to be quick to catch your breath and not swallow the whole river. After some of the tough stuff we get a lot of time to swim, much more relaxing as we all float down the river getting pulled along with the strong currents that are pretty powerful.

We stop at one place to do some cliff jumping, which is fun ad not too high only about 10m. We also get a chance to slide down one of the rocks and end up in a mini washing machine effect, using the raft which is blocked in-between two rocks as our pivot for heading down. So much fun and end up doing that about three times.

We pack in a lot of rafting by lunchtime, which is a nice stop of burgers and hotdogs to then have the afternoon which is a bit more time just floating along the river either in the raft or swimming, but still having a a couple of quite fast rapids to go down and tight spots to get out off.  Towards the end Paul also deliberately (well so he says!) flips us all over and as non of were expecting it, shakes some of the guys up, but at the same time everyone enjoys the extreme side of it and Paul is fab at directing us through the rocks. Just need to watch the bum, as the waters are lower than they can be when it floods as we see plenty of logs high up on rocks from where the floods rise the water so much. Paul tells us how the river water levels are actually controlled through the big power plant there an uses the rainfall from the previous seasons to ensure that it never dries out, as it’s big national heritage. The river is really  interesting and first half is mainly big boulders vs the 2nd half is lava rocks and can easily see how at one stage all surounding the river was molten hot lava and how it stopped at the edge of the river.

Th final stop of the tour is a last cliff jump and this is a bit higher, so not everyone does it. Good fun and overtime you jump into the water, it is so refreshing as so humid outside. We finish up and the coaches take us to a halfway pub, where we can all catch-up over a drink chatting about the awesome day. Overall such a fun day and one of the highlights, definitely keen to do more in NZ.

2nd March 2016

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