Last week, my dad round up several friends of his to go hiking on the Broderick Trail, and rafting down the Landsborough River in New Zealand. Personally, not being the fittest person out there, or really most adventurous- well.. I suppose I’m not that unadventurous- was pretty hesitant about going, and I definitely did not expect to have quite so much fun. The trip was 5 days in total, 3 days hiking and 2 days rafting.
The hike was definitely out of my comfort zone. The first day was supposedly “long and flat”. whoever it was that told me that was lying. The first day we hiked for a total of 8 and a half hours, so they were right about the long. However, the walk was not flat. We were up and down the banks of the Hopkins and Huxley rivers, often rock hopping (and rolling ankles) and crossing the rivers and getting wet feet, then climbing way up the side to get around land slips. The first night we stayed at the Broderick Hut, and by the time we got there I was so cold I stayed inside and sat in front of the fire the whole night. The second day we climbed up to Broderick Pass. While this hike was only 5 or so hours, it was extremely steep, and we climbed high enough to be walking through snow at times (it was the middle of summer). After crossing the pass, and effectively crossing from the east coast of New Zealand to the West, we set up tents next to Mackenzie Creek for the night. It was absolutely freezing! everyone was in bed and asleep before the sun even went down- mind you the days are quite long. The third day was probably the hardest. It was straight downhill. you would have thought it was easier, but it was probably steeper than the previous two days, and extremely slippery. We climbed down a ridge line, holding on to trees, ferns, rocks, roots, anything we could grasp, and everyone fell over at least three times. Personally, I spent quite a lot of time on my bum sliding down hills, while my mum chose to walk down most of it backwards so she could dig her toes in. Either method works very effectively.
We eventually finished the hike at Creswick Flat, where we were met by a helicopter just as we were starting our late lunch (he was early). I got the opportunity to sit in the front seat of the helicopter, and it was simply incredible! There isn’t anything I can think of to compare it to, other than it being what I imagine being a bird feels like. We were flown to top camp, where clean clothes awaited us, and beds that were off the floor. unfortunately there was no shower so several people took baths in the river which was straight off a glacier- a little chilly really. I was forced to take one as I had cut my knee getting into the helicopter and there was blood running down my leg- they’re called choppers for a reason. Day four was our first day of rafting. It was raining, and so the river was coming up, and there were grade 5 rapids to go down. Having never been rafting before, this was a scary sounding thing, but thanks to the amazing guides, no one even fell out of the rafts (this is not the same as people jumping out, because even i did that). We did the 18 kilometer stretch from top camp to bottom camp in 2 hours; less than half the time it normally takes. Bottom camp was my favourite for the soul reason that there was a hot shower. It was the best shower of my life. Day 5 was..interesting. The weather had cleared and the river had dropped again, but the rapids change constantly. There was one point where we were going down a rapid that looked pretty soft, and our raft almost flipped. Apparently what happened was we lost momentum when we got stuck on a rock, and then the force of the water pushed us into a wall of water, and at some point our raft was vertical. I can’t even tell you what happened, all I remember was water everywhere.
All in all, it was a very exciting trip, with spectacular views everywhere you look, whether it be down the Huxley Valley, with its flats and river, or up at Mt Hooker with it’s glaciers. There’s plenty of adventure, and it’s not really as hard as I had originally thought it was. Good luck!