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Exploring the Great Unknown in New Zealand

A family trip kayaking up a remote river gorge in Fiordland, New Zealand.

By: Affuera Vida + Save to a List

It's very easy to get lost in the South West of New Zealand. The lush rain forest, the lack of reception and access to places by car is limited. While spending some time there a friend of ours shared a secret about a place few know exist. 

The weather is usually pretty wet, but a small window of an hour and half with low precipitation was forecasted for early afternoon. We packed the bags, threwthe kayak on the truck and drove over the Haast Pass to find this slotted river valley.

While driving the weather didn't look that promising. Being cold and wet outside, and with our two year old in the back for the car, the idea of adventure was definitely crossing into the risky category.  As we've learned, you have to think twice and take things in consideration that you wouldn't if your kids weren't joining the party. 

We took a turn that matched the description our friend described and literally upon turning into the rain forest, the sun cracked through the heavily clouded sky.

Kayaking is not really our main activity, but definitely something that we want to do more and more with our son. We took the minimum with us for a 3 hour adventure, but we really didn't know what to expect. Kayak, check. Wetsuits, check. Camera, check. Snacks and toy farm animals, check. 

We slogged across one river until we merged onto of the most beautiful river gorge I have ever seen. 

The paddle was so easy, the water was so calm and tranquil. Along the paddle we found waterfalls, a little beach to stop and relax, and we kept going until the rapids were so strong we couldn't paddle any more. 

The experience of the unknown is so rewarding when you uncover magical places like this. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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