Grab your fold-up paddles, your blow-up rafts and your all-conditions backpack because today we’re going on an outdoors adventure literally like no other in New Zealand! Today, we’re going packrafting!
Now, what the hell is packrafting?
We were a little unsure to start with too, but it’s about making the most of the wilderness, both water and land, while packing light! Pack rafts are essentially blow-up rafts that will take you down river rapids and across lakes. When it’s all done, you roll it up, pop it in your backpack, and hike from there. There is only one company in New Zealand that you can go on a packrafting trip with and we are going to be joining them for a trip in Fiordland National Park – a World Heritage Site.
THe start of an expedition
We get picked up by Arno from Expedition in Te Anau and meet two other packrafting buddies today, Rachel and Johnny. From there, it’s to the beginning of the†Waiau River – a river that connects Lake Te Anau with Lake Manapouri.
Once parked up by a forest, Arno starts putting equipment in piles for everyone, from some hardcore backpack dry packs to two half paddles.
Meeting our packrafts
“You can have Laura,” Arno says to Laura as he hands over a bag smaller than a sleeping bag with the name “Laura” written on it. Robin has “Kim”, Rachel has “Betsy”, Johnny has “Lisa” and Arno has “Smokey” named after his cat. We guess these are the things we are going to be relying on to get us down the Waiau River today!
Wetsuits, jackets, helmets and life jackets on, we now walk through the bush carrying our gear to the riverside. First things first, we need to blowup our packrafts.