Again we were given a briefing of what to expect after the short distance of calm, but fast moving section of the river. The drops and waves were a little bigger and there were more hidden rocks. This seemed to be the area where a few got to experience rolling over to the correct position after having dumped. Reaching the eddy, we had one young girl who seemed to be hyperventilating. The guides took off her helmet and managed to calm her down enough that she decided to continue on to the next and final sledging. At each eddy stop we were given the option of not continuing. The driver of the vehicle was standing at each eddy on the path that paralleled the river.
The last section of the river was complete whitewater with a huge waterfall drop. We were not to go the route of the waterfall, but had been instructed in how to go under the fall and not land flat should we miss the turn. The two guides that were always to side of the group were there to keep us from the waterfall and if not able to, assist in getting out of it. One of the guides did go over the falls to make sure no one slipped by. When we reached the end, we felt as if we climbed Mt. Everest such was the experience. We stood still long enough for a couple of group photos and pats on the back and then we wanted to get all the gear off and go for lunch that the guides supplied. During our fish and chips lunch, we all got to see our photos on the computer and all decided to purchase a CD, even at the price of NZ45.00.
On the ride back we all wrote in the guest book, as did I, but this time I took the time to read all of the comments, no longer intimidated. I thanked the guides for taking such excellent care of me. Talking with the lady next to me who had just done the class V rapids the day before which I was contemplating, I was told it would be a let down after sledging. What a shock to compare class IV whitewater sledging to class V rafting. Happy Birthday to me!
Just a side note, Kaitiaki Adventures has been sledging since 1989 and also offers whitewater rafting. There are 100% Kiwi owned and the guides all begin and end tours with a traditional Maori prayer which they explained was to pay respect to the people of the river and ask for safe passage.