I started my adventure in New Zealand on the North Island having landed in Taupo. I met up with Chris Jolly for a fishing trip out on Lake Taupo. The vessel was 60 feet long and we were fishing for huge rainbow trout (the average is 4 pounds). After catching the fish, we had sushi right on the back of the boat. The sunsets on the Lake are perfect and just in case you aren’t lucky with your catch, there is a barbeque to cook up some steaks!
Sheep Shear and Rafting
A trip to New Zealand is not complete without visiting a sheep farm and from the Hidden Valley I journeyed about 3 hours inland to the Mokai Valley and to Tarata Lodge. This beautiful area is where the Rangitikei River meets the Ruahine Ranges. Most sheep farms are from 2000- 3000 acres and the talk is that there are 40 million sheep in New Zealand. While staying at Tarata Lodge, it was just a quick drive away to the Agrodome where you can learn about the importance of sheep to the island and how to shear them. I even gave it a try! Afterwards I headed back to the Lodge where I was about to embark on a big adventure. If you dare to ask you can mention you want to have a magic carpet ride on the farm. All I will tell you is it involves a four-wheeler, a cow, many cow patties and a fast, fast ride! Do this at your own risk! The ride on the river was really fun and we got to see several filming spots of Lord of the Rings! I suggest you stop to look at the waterfall that looks like Jurassic Park and if you can even go for a dip as the rapids are only about a level 2 or 3 at this exact location.
High Flying Fun
The rafting ride spurred my adventurous spirit and so I journeyed to Mokai Gravity Canyon near Taihape to bungee jump, zip line and swing across the canyon. Even though I have bungee jumped in other locations, I did find that this jump was extremely exciting and scarier than I thought it would be. Diving into a canyon headfirst was much harder than I thought and you will lose your stomach guaranteed on the giant swing. The calmest of the three is definitely the zip line, so of the three at least pick one!
The end of my trip to New Zealand included trips in the air to two of the beautiful national parks of the area. The flight started from Makarora at the head of Lake Wanaka. I must say that seeing the glaciers, mountain lakes, vast rain forests and unspoiled beauty of the Siberia Valley of Mount Aspiring World Heritage National Park was a highlight of the visit. There is something very special about seeing the countryside from the air; it is easier to understand the vastness of the land and enabled me to truly feel chosen that I was given the opportunity to see such beauty. However, you cannot come to the Siberia Valley and not cross the Siberia River. To do this, your feet must brave the frigid glacier water that flows through the valley. Cross at your own risk, but it definitely something to cross off the bucket list.
Fiordland National Park
From the Siberia Valley I headed to Te Anau to take my second flight, this time a helicopter took me over Fiordland National Park. This park contains some of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand and a “must see” for anyone traveling to the country. For the most spectacular views in the world, consider renting a helicopter to take you, it picked me up from my bed and breakfast and I could tell it where to land. Looking out at the Fiords feeling like the only person in the world is a priceless moment. Diving through the canyons, almost touching the waterfalls was a once in a lifetime experience.