On a different note, yesterday I went canyoning about forty minutes outside of Auckland in the Waitakere ranges. Our program coordinator from Australearn took about ten of us out there on the trip, so it wasn't commercially done. We were "just a bunch of friends having a good time"...in case the warden asked. We hiked about 40 minutes up a trail in our wet suits--we got some pretty funny looks. We walked down the river for a bit, occasionally reaching points chest deep (we had been warned of eels, but no worries, we didn't see one....until the end). At one point, Gavin, our coordinator, dug out some brush underwater, creating a tunnel we could swim through. Obstacle one, check. We slid down rock slides and jumped off several ledges. The tallest jump was about 10 metres. You couldn't see the jump until it was your turn and you walked up to the ledge--- I looked down, looked at Gavin said "Are you serious?", he nodded, and so I took the plunge. Not only did we just jump off a massive ledge, but we landed in a canyon. We had begun our descent underground. We stopped and ate Mars Bars, a local favourite, and tried to keep from freezing, as Gavin set up the abseil. We then repelled down a waterfall, water rushing in our faces as we went down the slippery rocks. Now, completely underground, we took one last leap off a log protruding out over a ledge. It was a pretty sweet day--although very cold!
While we were driving back to Auckland, Gavin said " You guys are pretty much domesticated now after two months-- regular bunch of kiwis." I have come to understand and love this kiwi life-style. Where else in the world do you go swim down a river on a Saturday with a bunch of friends just cause you can?
|About to abseil down the waterfall|