So the bus ride to River Valley is a good couple of hours after we do the walk, but a scenic one as most of the buses seem to be. Shortly before we arrive we have a stop off in small town, where he tells us that as River Valley is so remote (no signal, wifi or roads in) that the bus can’t get right up the front so we have to walk with all our bags. The rumour on the bus is that it is 4.5km, which is the same as the hukka falls and with bags pretty impossible, even more so after the crossing. Luckily he is only winding us up with us having to carry the bags and how far it is, as the hostel River Valley Lodge sends a yute down for the bags. As myself and Swedish Ida being at the back of the bus are some of the last ones off along with Milton Keynes Chris and a crazy Swedish guy called Lionel, we manage to hitch a lift on the back of the trailor where he is carrying the bags, which is quite fun. It isn’t too far a walk about 10minutes, so the driver was winding us up on that too letting us think that for a good hour or so.
The lodge at River Valley is quite different to the other hostels, as it is lodges around the valley. The room is a 32 bed dorm room, which actually is quite cool and is really just one massive bed going across 2 levels and in 2 rooms. It is very cosy and the sort of room you only want to stay in when you know people. Getting myself a good bed next to a wall and window I don’t do so badly.
The hostel is cooking up a group roast dinner and so we all go down for that, all pretty excited to be having some good home cooked food. I’m particularly looking forward to the roast potatoes as been a long time. It’s a family run place and has a really homely feel to it and is nice. It has a hot tub spa you can use for $25 for 4 people and nice sauna. It’s an outdoor place so is reliant on the weather and once they said the kiwi bus got snowed in there for 4 days as it’s a valley and right next to the river.
After dinner we all head up to the dorm to have some drinks and play some card drinking games. There are quite a few of us so it’s good fun playing horse racing and pyramid amongst others. With it having a bar we aren’t meant to drink in the rooms too much, so after the games spend rest of the night at the bar area and quite interesting chatting to some of the locals. There is a little issue with a Swedish guy who just jumped on at Taupo, as he is a little bit mad and during the roast dinner went and drunk Welsh Alex’s whole bottle of wine and left it empty and then came and sat with us only to be a bit aggressive to MK Chris and derogatory about Ida because he is Swedish and so is she so he thinks it is fine to do so.
We all stay at the bar for a bit as the hostel puts on some games, which are impossible to do but entertaining. The main one having to get across a wide wooden table used for dinner, without touching the floor and going underneath it. You need really long and strong arms. First up is a girl who tries a yoga move across, but not even close with then a few boys trying to show they can do it all getting competitive. Billy from Devon gives it a good go, which is funny to watch. No-one ends up managing it and so they switch games and do a headlock wrestling game, which welsh harry has a go at and wins. He looks so determined and all red in the face, which is also entertaining to see.
As it’s a clear night there are lots of stars out, so a big group of us decide to go for a late night walk around the hostel and surrounding valley. Heading up the hill for about 15minutes, we start loosing people probably around half who go back to the hostel and then the rest of us wanting an adventurous walk try to at first cut through the forest, but don’t get too far as the trees are too thick to easily walk by. So then we decide to just sit in a circle in one of the fields, where there is a mini hill and stream that some attempted to get to, but couldn’t as barb wire in the way and actually ends up cutting one of the girls Essie from UK on her leg. It starts to get cold so eventually after playing a game of Have I Never, head back to the hostel as some of the group want to check out the river. But as I have rafting in the morning decide to call it a night and get some sleep in as up at 7am.
April 27th 2016