We left Abel Tasman on the day after Christmas and started heading toward the West Coast. On the way, we stopped at Buller Gorge for a whitewater rafting trip. We met our guide at this historic iron bridge and learned that we were the only ones going on the trip!
We also learned that the water level was pretty high because of all the rain they'd been getting, and the boat would be pretty light and tipsy with just the three of us in it. I think our guide was a little worried, but we assured him we had done plenty of whitewater rafting in Colorado. The rapids proved to be just the right level of thrill and excitement. We had to paddle pretty hard at times, but none of us fell out or had any scary moments.
We also stopped for some cliff jumping. I didn't jump from the highest ledge (I was saving my bravery for activities later in the trip), but Zack did. Here he is mid-jump.
When we got back to the bridge, we had hot chocolate and cookies and cake. The only bad part was that I got eaten alive by sandflies on my hands and feet/ankles, which I didn't realize until a day later would create about 35 bites that would itch like CRAZY for a few days. Ugh-what is with me getting itchy bites in every country we visit? We soon bought some sandfly repellent and learned to wear more clothes when these nasty flies were around!
So other than the post-trip sandfly bites, it was a fun few hours of floating through the gorge, playing around, and paddling through some decent rapids. I'd say that makes for a good afternoon in New Zealand!