Wooden Poles and Underwater Prawns.
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Taupo Adventure Ropes Course. Many of you will know that I have a genuine fear of heights, and I decided that it was about time I did something about it. I decided that Rockâ€™n Ropes in Taupo could be just the place. I quickly booked a half day course for us both, before I changed my mind. Unfortunately though, this meant that for once I couldnâ€™t blame Simon for deciding on the adventure activity.
On the big day we were picked up from the centre of Taupo and taken the short drive to the course.
The course is about 15 metres above the ground, and is on a challenge by choice basis.
However there is one main rule: If you climb up that pole, then you canâ€™t climb down.
You have to complete the activity and be lowered down. I still canâ€™t believe that I climbed up the poles let alone did any of the activities. However Glenn is on hand to reassure you that provided you follow his instructions, you will be o.k., and it doesnâ€™t matter that you feel scared sh*tless you can do it.
They donâ€™t let you pussyfoot around, no-one will push you off if youâ€˜re too scared to jump. However most importantly no-one makes you feel that you are taking too long or being stupid.
The course has just been relocated nearer to Taupo and I knew that I was the first customer to use the course since the move. The high winds certainly didnâ€™t help my nerves walking across the tightropes either!
Unfortunately for Simonâ€™s nerves we were responsible for belaying for each other.
It was definitely a challenging, rewarding and memorable experience and one with enough of an adrenalin buzz to keep Simon happy too.
I havenâ€™t conquered my fear of heights but I did attempt all the activities bar one. (the giant swing).I didnâ€™t manage to grab onto the trapeze but after 4 minutes on top of a pole 15 metres above the ground I did jump)! So neithertheless I do feel proud of myself and that I deserved my reward of an afternoon at the Huka Prawn Park, (which is conveniently only a short distance away from Rockâ€™n Ropes)
The Huka Prawn Park is New Zealandâ€˜s only Prawn Park, and is the place to go if you want to learn more about, hand-feed, fish and eat prawns.
We started off with a visit to the hatchery, where we got to meet the famous â€˜Shawn the Prawnâ€™ and his seven wives. As prawns are so resistant to disease, we were also given the opportunity to hand-feed some of the one billion baby prawns that are born in the hatchery each year. Fortunately they donâ€™t bite the hand that feeds them, but they do TICKLE.
Following a short nature walk, (stopping only to feed the wild but friendly Rainbow Trout living in the neighbouring Waikato River). We decided to have a go at prawn fishing.
Basically you get given a rod made out a bamboo cane, some chopped up liver and off you go to sit like a garden gnome for a couple of hours.
Whatever you catch, the chef in the on-site restaurant will cook for free.
However catching prawns is more difficult than it sounds.
You get plenty of bites, but you need to give the prawn enough time to get hooked.
However if you leave it too long, they just make off with the bait.
Yes, prawns are definitely canny, and no doubt their pinchers help them avoid capture.
Within the first five minutes Simon caught his first prawn (Patrick) , which was later to become our dinner.* However after two more hours of fishing that was our lot, so we took our specimen to the restaurant and ordered a platter of prawns while we were there.
We werenâ€™t entirely sure how to peel and eat the prawns properly, however we both agreed that they were the biggest and most delicious prawns we had ever eaten.
Which explains why that out of the 32 tons of prawns that are farmed at the park each year, 96% are eaten in the on-site restaurant and 4% are brought and taken away to cook on the Barbie. (They donâ€™t export any of their prawns and you wont fine them in the shops).
* For the record Patrick was a tiddler compared to the other prawns we ate that day; but he was no less tasty, thus proving once again that size isnâ€™t everythingâ€¦.