(VOVworld) – Do you want to be in a raft going down an angry river, with water splashing on your face? Do you want to experience a sky full of stars inside a dark cave? If yes, we’ll take you on a tour to New Zealand, the capital of adventure, in VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous segment. This week, we’ll meet Amber Harris, a tour guide living in Vietnam, to talk about water rafting in New Zealand.
Q: Hello Amber Harris! Welcome back to VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous. Besides Bungy jumping and sky diving, New Zealand is also well-known for its water rafting. Have you ever done it?
A: Yeah I went water rafting for the first time about 8 years ago. I hadn’t been white water rafting before, and my very first time was on grade 5 rapids. At that time, I was working for a big tourism company, they said to me: “Oh you have to go and try it!”, so I was very scared, I had never done it before. And I had a lot of fun, I had a great team of people with me, and a great river guide. The water would be rushing so fast over rocks, and I couldn’t see the rocks, so if I fell out of the boat, I would bang into the rocks and get stuck in the water. I was very scared, but I really enjoyed that day.
Q: How many grades are there? Did you try the highest level?
A: In New Zealand, they have grade 5 rapids. There’re many different grades in the world that start from 1 and go to 5. 5 is the most dangerous. Many people come to New Zealand to go white water rafting. White water rafting is so popular, white water meaning that the rapids when the water is rushing down the river is white. So you are in a small blow up bouncy boat with 5 or 6 other people, and you go down the waterfalls and rivers that are very rough water. That’s a lot of fun.
|Thrilling white water rafting in spectacular Queenstown, New Zealand 's adventure capital
Q: Of-course fantastic, but a bit scary for me. I see that white water rafting is dangerous. But do you think that is the reason why it attracts a lot of tourists?
A: Sometimes people fall out of the raft, they’re going so fast around different corners and waterfalls, so the boat has to fall all the way down, the rivers are so rough and dangerous, and grade 5 rapids are extremely hard to navigate even for professional white water rafting guides. There is always a little bit of danger involved, and I think that’s why people like it. In New Zealand, you can also go water rafting on a lower grade: grade 1 or 2 rivers which mean it’s a lot calmer. But grade 5 is what people come for. It’s the most dangerous. And they base this on how many waterfalls and different heights you have to come down. Also in some of our rivers in New Zealand, we have whirl pools where the water goes around and around in a circle and it sucks you in. We have this in grade 5. The water is very angry. But if you want to try it out, I think it’s very good to give it a go on a smaller level. Because you have a lot of fun, you get to see the nature, you’re inside the boat, and you go down the rapids and very small waterfalls where you just drop maybe 1 meter.
Q: You have white water rafting, so what is the other kind? Black?
A: Yeah that’s really cool because New Zealand is the only place in the world to have black water rafting. Black water rafting for us is when you are in a raft, and you have a helmet on your head, and on your helmet you have a flash light like a torch. You go through the caves, and the rivers run through the caves, so you’re sitting in a boat with a helmet on and when you look up you can see all of the glowworms. So the cave is like thousands of little lights on it because this little worm has a glow on him. It’s a lot calmer, I think. I haven’t done water rafting again, but black water rafting is my favorite. It’s really beautiful. New Zealand has so much unique nature that no other country has. You’ll feel that you’re in a magical wonderland. You have a little bit of adventure and a little bit of scenery that you can look at. It’s really nice.
|Glowworms inside Waitomo caves, the most famous place for black water rafting in New Zealand (Photo: whenyousurvive.com)
Q: It seems that you prefer black water rafting, right, Amber?
A: I’ve done black water rafting many times, maybe ten times. I really enjoyed it. I enjoy black water rafting more because you’ll feel like you can be a little bit more relaxed. You’re just going very slowly through the caves; you have a rope around your waist, and you’re attached to the raft, so you can kind of just flow down and look up into the cave. It looks like a sky with millions of stars.
Q: How long does it take for one black water rafting trip?
A: Black water rafting may be 45 minutes or one hour. You can do it all day. When you go inside the cave, it’s dark any way, and you have a torch on your helmet, so when the glowworms see light, they light up even more, so you’re kind of activating their light.
Q: Wow it’s so romantic! I bet it’s perfect for couples.
A: Some people think it’s romantic because it looks like a beautiful sky of stars. Some tourists who have gone on their holiday and they went black water rafting, went inside and proposed. They’ve asked their boyfriend or girlfriend to marry them because it’s so beautiful.
Q: Well, I wish I had a chance to go there and experience the romance inside the caves. That was Amber Harris talking about New Zealand’s white water rafting and black water rafting. For VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous segment, I’m Thu Ly. Catch you later!