A small group of staff and young people recently escaped the hustle and bustle of Wellington and headed up the Whanganui River for a 3-day adventure camp. This is what one of them had to say about the experience:
Due to severe weather the days before the trip, the river water levels were too high for us to take to the water on Day 1. Instead, we stayed on land and cycled the 16km Old Coach Road from Horopito to Ohakune. This historical trail enabled us to see natural bush, old railway tracks, viaducts and tunnels, and travel along sections of the old cobbled roads on which the early train engineers once travelled. We then exchanged shorts and t-shirts and dirt tracks for warmer jackets, trousers and ski fields by paying a visit to the snow at Turoa.
On Day 2, we managed to get on the river by taking a jet boat ride up the Whanganui River to Mangapurua Landing. From here, it was a 30 minute walk to the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, another historical site dating back over 100 years. Shortly after, we were dropped at our camp site for the evening were we played Frisbee, relaxed, and later played games around a camp fire.
Day 3 was our day on the river. This involved a 4 hour journey in Canadian canoes to Pipiriki, navigating several rapids, river debris, and passing jet boats. It was a superb journey that gave the opportunity to see the natural bush from a different perspective, and the chance to connect and contemplate. We ended our trip by staying in Jerusalem, a small hamlet along the Whanganui River.
All up, the camp was a great experience. It gave us – both staff and young people – the chance to be challenged, to have lots of fun, and to reflect on the important things in life.