|Today was Saturday here, which meant market day!! We first drove out to a little suburb called Frankton to check out their goods. It was a cute little place and we found a couple things (and a delicious rasp white choc muffin). In town on the waterfront was another market, as well as at a little church close by.. Clint was so excited that there was 3 going on today we could check out!! Then we boxed up some of our treasures we've been finding along the way and shipped them back to Canada.
The afternoon was action packed with the 'triple challenge' (recommendation from Lloyd from when they were here years ago). It started with the shotover jet boating on the kawarau river. Clint was amazed at the power of the engines (2 350 V8s or something like that). The driver would do a complete 360 degree spin and it was crazy how close to the rock he was getting when we would go zipping through the canyons. It was unreal the amount of control these drivers could keep on the boat as they did 80km/hr through the water. You feel quite on edge to when you start the ride, but learn to trust them quickly.
We then got ready for whitewater rafting on this same river, but much further up. So we took a helicopter ride to get to the staring point (skippers canyon). This was a short, but beautiful ride down through the canyons and gorges. Our pilot was an older gentleman who did a few tricks along the way. We later learnt his nickname is suicide Pete.
After getting the safety debriefing for rafting, we headed out down the river with our Argentinian guide and 4 other tourists from France. We're not sure if they do it differently in France, but they were using their paddles as if they were slicing through the water instead of paddling. It wasn't too long before the guide made seating changes, and Clint paddled the one side, while the guide and I did the other (I'm pretty sure I actually helped this time, unlike our kayaking adventure). So, we decided the Canadians carried this raft. On this river this year, they mentioned it wasn't uncommon for rafts to flip (some guides had flipped their rafts twice in one trip on different spots in the river) or to lose a few rafters (2 had fallen out in the morning session). Luckily during out trip, we didn't. At the end of the journey, you go through this tunnel in the mountain that took 3 years to make back in the mining days (before the depression). And then over this massive drop, that many have broken their noses on (our guide said he's only had one person so far this summer break their nose, but many others in the other rafts if you don't get in the right position in the raft and go flying into the persons helmet in front of you). We managed to avoid this as well and were happy to be in calm waters on the way to shore. Along the last stretch we saw some guys panning for gold.. As this river is apparently a very rich mining river and with the flood they had a few weeks ago, many new things have been brought to the surface (last week, one guy found 17000 worth of gold in a little creek coming into the river). Clint found all of this quite interesting and any stop we had waiting for other rafts, he was sifting through the sand to see what he could find!
After rafting we met up with an old time friend from high prairie who had moved to n.z about 7 years ago. Christel and her hubby Pete had us over to their place for drinks and appies before heading out to the restaurant that Pete owns. The restaurant was a steakhouse pub and grill called Brazz. We had a complete menu breakdown from Pete which was great, because we learnt quite a few things about they call different meals here. After questioning Pete for a good half hour, we finally ordered. I had pork belly for an appetizer, and then had the rack of lamb with baked cheese cauliflower and mini baked potatoes with a wine au jus. This was unbelievable!!! The pork belly is not what it sounds like at all. It is basically like a pork tenderloin with the fat still on top. They bake this slowly then when it is done they take it out and pan sear the the fat to give it a crispy texture. This searing also brings out amazing flavour in the fat as well. The lamb was crazy crazy good as well, also was the rest of my meal. By far the best I had ate on this trip. Kara ordered a cheese and garlic baked shrimp for appy, then ordered a full rack of ribs and fries and corn for her main. I honestly don't know if I have ever seen her eat this much food. I only got 1 shrimp and 1 rib from her whole meal, just as tasters. She ate the entire meal!! So needless to say her food was amazing as well. After supper, we had the dessert menu break down from Pete, and Kara decided we should try the sticky date pudding. This was by far the best dessert we have had. From all the chocolate, cakes and squares Kara has bought this trip, the sticky date pudding had some tough competition, but it was definitely the winner. We sat around at the restaurant for a few more hours, and tried a bunch of local wines and beers, then decided to head back to the hostel for our early morning.
Huge thanks to christel and Pete for picking up the supper and drink tab, as we ate and drank like we had been starved for weeks and weeks.