The day began with an early start meeting my fellow group members at The Station building in Queenstown and boarding the bus to Glenorchy. No matter how many times I drive the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy, its beauty never fails to amaze me. Sitting lake-side I watched the ripples on the lake and pondered what kind of weather the day had in store for us!
On arrival to Glenorchy, we were taken into the Dart River Adventure base building and briefed on what lay ahead. We were then kitted out head to toe in wet suits, booties, thermal jumpers, a neck warmer, a coat and to finish it off, a life jacket! We were toasty and ready for the day ahead.
We boarded the bus for a short drive just a few minutes down the road to the jetty where our jet boat awaited us. Aboard the jet boat we were given our instructions to hold on and enjoy the ride and that’s exactly what we did! Starting with a few big spins on the lake, we were then heading up the Dart River for our 50 minute jet boat ride which was full of thrills along the way. We then arrived at the totally remote beach 40km up the river in the National Park, windswept and ready to meet our guides for the rest of the day.
Here we were introduced to Morgan and Toby who would be our guides for the day and they were brilliant from start to end. Instantly making me feel at ease due to the lack of kayaking experience I had and the ever building wind which wasn’t filling me with confidence as to how easy navigating our way down the river would become! After our briefing on how to do the different strokes and navigate the boat, we were off!
The great thing about the Funyak’s is that you really can do as little or as much work as you want to do. Pair up with someone and sit in the front and all you need do is simply put in a few strokes to keep the momentum going ( the wind made sure we didn’t need much extra momentum) or sit at the back if you want the challenge of keeping the Funyak in the right direction and trust me, it is a challenge! I sat in the back and battled with the wind to keep us in the right channels along the way and I loved it!
Down-stream slightly, we were lucky enough to be able to kayak through the Rockburn Chasm which I was in ore of. The Chasm naturally formed by earthquake and then filled with water, it was beautiful and so peaceful!
Around 45 minutes after we set out, we had arrived at our lunch spot – The Rockburn Hut. The hut belongs to the department of conversation but was donated to them by Dart River Adventures. The guides off loaded our lunch from the Funyaks and laid out a delicious spread of fresh meats, cheese, salads and lots of cake treats to keep our energy levels up!
After lunch, we were warmed and energised and we set off on our final leg of the river. As the wind had picked up by then, the guides rafted us together to navigate the rest of the river which was great (I was grateful of the rest by then!). Toby, our guide was rafted to us so we chatted to him the rest of the way down hearing many of his stories of the last 5 years working on The Dart River and just how much it has changed in that time. You can tell how much these guides love their job and why wouldn’t they!!
Once we finished the final leg, around 45 minutes later, we arrived at Paradise Beach where our busses were waiting to collect us and our Funyaks. We then had a 30 minute drive back to base where Morgan entertained us the whole way with stories of Paradise and how it came to be such a popular filming spot today!
Once we were de suited and booted, it was time for a quick drink in the old Glenorchy Pub for a catch up on all things Funyak. It really did live up to its name!
Thank you to our guides and Dart River Adventure for an amazing day out!
Eschew the shops this festive season and spend more time making memories with those that matter most. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday gone by, there’s a new addition to this holiday season that we predict will be snatching up the limelight – Say hello to Travel Tuesday.
2019 is the year to give the gift of a lifetime, unforgettable memories and ultimately, happiness. Researchers have found that experiences deliver longer lasting happiness than their material competitors, something we understand all too well.
At Touch of Spice, experience is everything! We constantly have our finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest unhidden gems throughout the South Pacific. Our passion is crafting unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that promise to always take our guests above and beyond the norm. Which got us thinking – if we could wrap up our gifts of a lifetime, what would they be? Whether it’s something for the ultimate adrenaline junkie, foodie, wine lover or wilderness explorer, here’s our team’s ultimate gift wish-list for 2019!
(Prepare yourself - this dose of ‘Travel Tuesday’ inspiration might have you running for the airport sooner than expected!)
River Journey - Charlotte, CEO
You mention River Journey in the office and Charlottes eyes light up. This is the ultimate gift for wilderness explorers - What more could you want for than jet boating in a glacial lake, rafting down a gentle river through tropical bush land and trekking to finish at a rugged South Coast beach? Stay in DOC hunts along the way, trek through untouched forests, bird watch, share amazing stories and enjoy all types of luxury you wouldn’t traditionally find in the wild. Sip mulled wine and graze on a gourmet platter upon arriving at your hut. Enjoy a homemade feast from your private guide, matched perfectly with Central Otago wines of course, and take a private jetboat or heli out the next day to make sure you exit in style! It’s the perfect gift for that inner adventurer.
A day with Christchurch Heli’s - Amy, Senior Marketing & Product Manager
Any talk of Christchurch and Amy is in! Lifting off from her favourite Residence Collection property – Dancing on Moonlight, fly off for a day of discovery. With whale watching from the air in Kaikoura followed by a freshly caught and prepared seafood lunch served by an alpine tarn, it’s a day of appreciating the sights and flavours of New Zealand’s oceans. Explore the mountain tops, trying your best to spot the native birds and share stories with your guide along the way. Fly from the peaks to the vineyards and tantalise your taste buds at the famous Pyramid Valley Vineyard. Perhaps pick up a bottle or two for home and finish the day with a sunset flight home – a day for foodies and nature lovers alike!
Rolling around Rotorua - Sammy, Senior Travel Designer
Sammy is a lover of the North Island. After visiting our beautiful property Ataahua Lodge a couple a months ago, Sammy discovered what Rotorua really had to offer. Start the morning at the home of zorbing, picking one of the four mountain side-tracks and placing your bets on who can roll the fastest. After finding your feet, try your hand at the rolling tracks on Redwoods famous mountain bike tracks before rolling down the rivers of Rotorua on an adventurous rafting trip. Take on the 7-metre waterfall at the end and finish the day with a splash – a gift for adrenaline junkies!
Wine and Dine in luxury - Lyndal, Property Manager
Not all experiences need to include helicopter rides or adventure. Lyndal, our Property Manager, has a passion for design, interiors and local (most of the time homegrown) food and wine. Lyndal would enjoy nothing more than a glass of stunning Central Otago Wine served along side a chef prepared meal in her favourite Residence Collection property – Bob’s Cove Luxury Retreat. Start the day with a private wine tour to some of Gibbston Valleys most exclusive wineries – squeeze the grapes, sample the best and meet the wine makers themselves. Select a couple of your favourite bottles before stopping by a local farm to collect some fresh produce and returning home. Finish the day with a chef prepared meal with close friends and family overlooking stunning Bob’s Cove, and simply enjoy a slice of true luxury in the comfort of the ultimate home from home. The Perfect gift for the full family to enjoy, foodies and wine lovers – a true taste of luxury in Central Otago.
The Pods at The Lindis - Judi, Villa & Guest Experience Manager
After staying at the stunning Lindis a few months ago, Judi has been itching to go back! And just when she thought a stay at The Lindis couldn’t get any better, they introduce The Pods. Sleeping under the stars in a private, mirrored glass pod overlooking the stunning Ahuriri Valley means star gazing at night and rising to the sun in the morning. Watch as the ever-changing weather rolls in from the luxury suite or sip bubbles in the private deck front hot tub. With the main lodge only a stone’s throw away from The Pods, dinner and drinks will be served in the main restaurant – a meal Judi still raves about. Finishing your evening with a spot of star gazing will make for a stay like never before – the perfect gift for you and your other half.
Need some more inspiration? Talk to one of our Travel Designers today and let us craft the perfect gift to give this holiday season. Let us make 2020 a year to remember!