Day 9 early evening – with driving rain and the previous few days temperature highs of 26° dropping to 13°, disaster struck. Our unhelpful mr sat nav took us down another, long, winding, gravel road to a forest in the middle of nowhere – we did, kind of need to be in this forest, annoyingly his route led us to a locked gate leading to a heavily overgrown grass track only a tractor could use!
With the steaming cauldron sitting beside me, I eight point turned Aromoana around knowing we would have to drive the good half hour back to the main road. The long-suffering was adamant the extra miles would be worth it, in fact there was to be no budging from this part of ‘the itinerary’. He had a back up plan, as all good tour operators have! We would now drive around the forest and arrive in from the other side – only another NINETY minutes!
After another long drive – albeit with stunning scenery – bumping around on a long winding gravel track to the middle of nowhere with few signs of habitation we arrived at our destination without incident of flooding or sliding back downhill on the now slippery mud between the gravel.
And wow……Even in the rain, our stop for the night was a gem, just us alone in the middle of a beautifully quiet forest with only the sound of birds, insects, sheep baa-ing and the now easing rain drip dripping down through the canopies of the trees. Long-suffering now had his told yourself face on!
Day 10 – 6.30am chilly 11° weather set fair. Walk to Shine Falls, a beautiful forty-five minute walk through open scrub with sandstone cliffs on either side, into a narrow winding forest walk with steep ups and downs leading to the most secluded spectacular falls we had ever seen cascading down into a sandy bottomed pool at its base.
The long-suffering had this romantic idea of us both bathing in this inviting pool, considering he finds it difficult just getting his shoulders under in a warm sea, I was quietly sceptical!
It was down to me to test the waters. Swimsuit on already cold, I scrambled down over a few rocks, one foot then the other went in, the ice-cold water took my breath away and it was only just past my ankles, within seconds I could not feel my toes. Meanwhile long-suffering stood on the sidelines fully dressed – think fleecy top – like a linesmen in a football game directing me further in for the best ‘shot’.
After only five maybe ten minutes -felt like thirty – I clambered out again my feet not co-operating at all up to Long-suffering waiting attentively with the towel, helping to dry my feet was about as romantic as this expedition would get, adamant as he was he would not be going in.
I did though manage – with much pleading – to coax him in for a paddle to take my ‘best shot’!