Day 4 on the Road
Canyoning in the Coromandel with CanyoNZ!
It’s Day 4 and the first major activity of New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year! We hit the Sleeping God’s Canyon when we go canyoning in the Coromandel. However, not everything goes to plan…
Today is the big day for canyoning which is the first major activity of this week. Alright, today we’re going canyoning, yayyyy!
The ride down to Sleeping God’s Canyon is a bit of an adventure in itself because you’re going down on this gravel road with loads of pot holes. We’re introduced to the rest of the people canyoning with us today so there’s Matt, Jess, Martin and Osgard. We get into somewhere deep in the forest and there’s a little shed with lots of wetsuits and equipment ready for us so we all suit up, put our wetsuits in packs. Now I don’t know how that worked out but Laura ended up carrying the gears of three people and there were one girl who literally didn’t have a bag.
How’s it going Laura? Awesome. Are you ready to swim? Yeah. For those who don’t know what that is, so canyoning starts by carrying a lot of gears up the mountain then going down the mountain following the canyon created by the river. But first we need to cross a river, which T, who is leading the group, she has a look at the river and says: “There is usually some stepping stones across here.” But obviously it’s just river rapids so. But you know that doesn’t stop us, we still all link arms and make our way across. The current was actually incredibly high. I mean, looking back at the pictures, it just looks like we were in half knee-deep water and and bitching like babies but honestly the current was really really strong and the water because of a few muddy landslides during the night was very muddy so you couldn’t see where you were stepping. So you had no idea if you were stepping on a stable rock or in a hole or this and that. That was quite fun. Quite a few people half fell in the water. That was cool.
She’s like: “I’m not sure about this, I’m going to go back and see Wayne who is meant to be meeting us later in the track.” Because the water level is much higher than they anticipated. So she just basically skips back across the river, really putting us to shame that we all had to link arms and she’s like a small woman skips away across. While Wayne just basically wades through the rapids like it’s nothing and he’s carrying two massive backpacks. He’s just proper hench and like urgh. Wading across the river like the river was his bitch.
They come back and say to us that it is too dangerous to canyon today but they were happy to give everyone a full refund but they still wanted to take us up to the valley entrance anyway if we wanted to. It was up to us what we wanted to do which was really amazing how much time they spent with us today and still giving us a refund because we can’t do the whole canyoning. We find out later that we end up doing a lot today anyway, so it was still an adventure in itself.
So our alternative option is to hike up the Billy Goat Track up to the Sleeping God’s Canyon entrance. We start hiking up through thick rainforest, a lot of mud. It was pretty intense mudwise. But it was really cool.
There’s random railway lines coming down the hill so that made some cool photo-opportunities. Along the way, there’s loads of opening for views of waterfalls and T and Wayne are showing us: “This is the waterfall we would be abseiling down.” It looks really amazing. We would love to come back another time and do the whole canyoning.
T and Wayne show us a plant, which is meant to be very good if you have diarrhea and it will bung up your system. Robin decides that it would be a good idea to try this. He was pretty excited. He was like: “Oh my God, yea, I want to try some.” So Robin eats the diarrhea plant and the taste is too much for his delicate French palette to handle.
Does not taste good. That’s all I have to say.
We finally reach the top of the Billy Goat Track. There’s a river. And then Wayne and T say: “You know what, the river’s kind of alright. Let’s go down. Let’s go check out a few waterfalls. We start to do a bit of a river scramble and all of a sudden the river just drops into a cascade of different waterfalls and everyone gets all giddy like they’re kids like: “Oh my God, I can’t wait to scramble down there.”
Wayne and T help us across the river rapids but there’s a lot of stuff we can just do ourselves so yeah, it’s really cool. And when we get to the entrance of the canyon there’s a ledge where the waterfall just drops and we all decide to get a photo at the end of the ledge. So we scramble our way back up the river which is just as fun. A scramble up the waterfall is as good as going back down it again. We just get to the river and T and Wayne suggest that we have some lunch. T has made some really nice sandwiches. These are sandwiches with three slices of bread in – what Ross from Friends would call the “moist maker”.
It’s time to get home. We grab the bag back and start going back downhill. And then we made our way back down the same track which is easier on the lungs but harder on the joints but, oh well. It was fun. It’s easy, fun and honestly, I cannot believe those guys gave us our money back.
But the day is not over yet, because we still need to drive from Thames to Coromandel which proves to be about an hour and a half drive along the Pacific Coast Highway which is so super scenic. So Coromandel Town is the last town in the northern Coromandel and the rest is all bush. Then I was like: “Let’s stop at some beaches so I can take some pictures of the pretty sunset.” And as it gets dark, we rock up to the Coromandel Top 10 Holiday Park.