As twenty courageous explorers (and 4 teachers) set out to Ohakune, the emotions and music volume was high. After a quick lunch stop and another hour and a half of driving, the vans pulled into the driveway of our destination and homebase of this camp, Station Lodge, a ski lodge fitted with a kitchen, bathrooms, sizable bunk rooms and an outdoor spa pool. While this wasn’t your traditional tent and toilet/hole in the ground camp, once we saw where we were going to stay for the next 3 nights we thanked God for the absence of long drops.
Not much excitement entailed the arrival, as we still all were in various states of side effects from the van drive and still had to do our unpacking. After a quick number off and collection of bags, we trooped into the lodge to locate our rooms. The rooms were of varying sizes, all fitted with enough bunk beds to house us all and more if need be. After a short hike and superb burgers made by Mr. Mills we headed to bed, in anticipation of the Old Coach Road hike the next day.
We set off fueled by various breakfast foods and with backpacks full of baking, fruit, sandwiches, and enormous amounts of water. We were dressed for the worst weather including snow and rain. After recreating scenes from Hunt for the Wilderpeople we set off on our journey. Yet the weather took a surprising turn. It took only 100m for people to start shedding their many layers with the temperature and weather being quite pleasant.
With various stops and breaks and small snippets of New Zealand history we eventually got to the landmark in our Old Coach walk. The bridge. While this was a walk in the park for some, some of us (including me) weren’t very fond of heights and it made getting over the bridge a challenge to overcome. Though the candy passed around definitely helped in bolstering our spirits to overcome that challenge. The rest of the walk passed without incident.
We got back to the lodge and after a dinner of spaghetti bolognese we were feeling marginally better. Yet there were more adventures to come with White Water Rafting the next day.
A 6.00am start with pots and pans banging to help us wake up, we set off in the vans with rain hammering the rooves of the vans. We arrived at the place where we would collect our white water rafting gear amid a torrent of rain, and after changing into our gear we got into the bus and headed down to the river. We split into 4 groups and started rafting. There is only one word that could describe the feeling that I felt when we went down the rapids. Pure, undiluted exhilaration. There was lots of splashing each other with paddles and noise due to orders being snapped out by our guides for the rafting, and the sound of the rapids. Fingers lost feeling and there were close calls but no one fell out. After the rafting it was off to the hot pools (which were a relief on our frozen fingers) and back to the lodge for hot chocolate made by Mr Mills and a relax before the last night in Station Lodge.
It was up and cleaning for the boys. Packing up the sheets and pillowcases. Sweeping and vacuuming, double checking bags and its contents. After a discussion of the highlights/ what we were proud of we climbed in the vans and started heading back. A quick stop at the Ohakune carrot and Tangiwai disaster memorial and we carried on back home.
The camp was overall a great experience for us and it contains memories that we will keep over our years. A huge thanks to all the teachers who cooked and made this all happen, and a special thanks to Mrs. Mills for leading this camp.