Canoeing in Opotiki: Forget the Whanganui Journey! – New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year

Canoeing in Opotiki: Forget the Whanganui Journey! – New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year

Today we are following a bunch of locals throughout
the whole Waioeka Gorge that can’t be right. The whole Waioeka Gorge. What? Alright. Today is a true New Zealand story. When we
arrived in opotiki we met the owner of the Royal Opotiki Backpackers and he introduced
us to his mate Grant that has a few canoes and said that he wanted to go down the Waioeka
River so we simply asked “hey mate can e join you?” and he said “of course”. Alright guys we have helmets for everyone
but they are optional in this trip. As you can see it’s a pretty unofficial tour
but he’s taking his stuff really seriously and getting us to do a few bonding exercises. Left Right Left Right Left Right. I knew it. Nice catch. Oh my God. So that’s greeting in New Zealand. That’s
how you say Hi in the morning at work. After those bonding exercises that got way
too intimate we can finally jump into our canoes and start making our way down the absolutely
stunning Waioeka River. Already the scenery is outstanding and the sun is our so we need
to take off a few layers cos this is gonna be some pretty hard work paddling these canoes
but we are surrounded by this Jurassic like landscape with all these native trees and
towering mountains around us. Grant and his partner Dido are taking the
lead showing us which lines to take of the river and we basically just follow them through
the safest passage of the Waioeka Gorge. While Robin and I have done quite a few kayaking
tours now, paddling a Canadian canoe is a lot different and a lot of fun as well we
are really having a banterful time with our fellow tour goers but it also tests our communication
you really need to be able to communicate if you are two people paddling on a canoe. Yeah so basically there is a lot of communication
involved and if you don’t communicate very well you end up in the bushes which definitely
happened to Laura and I quite a few times but Grant and his partner Dido have a lot
of tips and insights about using the canoe and also know the gorge like the back of their
hand so they always show us a lot of really fun places to check out there are plenty of
rapids which are really cool and rather hard to maneuver and it’s just an overall amazing
experience. it’s quite rare that you get to actually experience places with the locals. But about halfway through the trip we are
stopping our trip we are getting out of the canoe and we are making camp. We are not going
to be staying here for the night but we are staying here for lunch. We did a little pot
luck which means that everybody brings something to share with everyone. because we are on
a budget and we have a campervan we actually didn’t bake anything we went to buy a couple
of cakes. i have to be honest that is not the best cake ever an d that is not the best
presentation ever when trying cut it with a spoon and Laura is the first one to complain. The dry bit on the bottom. Thank you. It’s days like this that just make you want
to stay in New Zealand forever when you see what sort of stuff the locals get up to on
their days off it’s really awesome and if you haven’t figured out already New Zealand
is a super outdoorsy country and the locals often do have awesome gear to take you to
awesome places. However, if you don’t have access to canoes
there’s plenty of other things that you can be doing along the Waioeka River and the Waioeka
River Gorge. As you saw the other day we actually took a road trip through the Waioeka Gorge
and there’s loads of different walks that you can be doing amongst the Tauranga Bridge
walk, there’s also another bridge walk called the Little Manganuku Track and there’s plenty
more which we list in our 15 Opotiki Walks that you Can’t Miss which we’ll link up in
the description below. By this part of the trip through we are getting
a lot more confident on our canoes and we’re splashing each other and just being a nuisance
to everyone but at this point also Grant is showing us a few more of the hidden gems of
the Waioeka River for instance we find a little waterfall which is perfect to actually go
and bathe in the plunge pool. Kiwis are absolutely crazy and they do not
shy away at the chance to jump into freezing cold plunge pool of a waterfall but luckily
there are plenty of ways to warm back up again which is getting back into our canoe and getting
to the end of this awesome Waioeka River Gorge journey. One of the really interesting things about
the Waioeka Gorge is that it’s really reminiscent to the Whanganui Journey which is one of the
10 New Zealand Great Walks in fact the only one of the 10 New Zealand Great Walks which
is not a walk but more of a canoe trip. And the canoe that we are currently using were
used on the Whanganui Journey a few years ago before Grant bought them. So we didn’t get to do the Whanganui Journey
we kind of did that’s the Waioeka Gorge for you guys. no I’m joking, we’re still gonna
try to go there we have some time around the area a little bit later on in our trip so
fingers crossed we’ll get to the Whanganui at some point. But just enough time for us
to wrap up and get ourselves ready for our next adventure tomorrow. There was a couple of travellers that we seeking
and looking hard and long and long and hard for the ultimate answer what is the best New
Zealand attraction? Their adventurous endeavor will bring them
to… Opotiki.

2 thoughts on “Canoeing in Opotiki: Forget the Whanganui Journey! – New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year

  • July 9, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    This looks so fun!

  • July 10, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Love this gorge. You asked what is the best NZ attraction well for me it is The Chateau Tongararo and the central plateau and you missed it! Those three mountains and a hotel in the middle of nowhere are not to be missed. I do hope you got there. We camped at the Chateau, coldest night of my life but it never disappoints.


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