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Gaby and I had a long weekend for Easter and decided to head out of town. As it turns out, the New Zealand Speleological Society holds an annual caving trip to the Paturau River. We were able to borrow many camping items from several of our friends, as our belongings have not yet arrived in New Zealand.

The Paturau River is located near the northwest corner of the south island, in the Nelson Region. Normally this is a fairly wet region, but the rain held off for three days in a row, providing wonderful weather for the cavers. Paturau is about an 8 hour drive from Christchurch, which allowed us to explore some of the beautiful countryside here in New Zealand.

We estimated about 100 people showed up for the event, a pretty good number of people! We were able to meet cavers from all over New Zealand and explore some of the great caves of this region. I unfortunately do not have any photos as yet of the caves in this region as I do not have a waterproof camera; However, I have uploaded some images of the absolutely gorgeous area where we camped. Our camp was situated along the mouth of the Paturau River, in a small grassy paddock surrounded by Nikau Palms on one side and the beach on the other!

Gaby and I were invited to go on our first “real” caving trips this weekend – what a blast. I have had to redefine the term “dry cave.” Before our first trip I asked if this was going to be a dry cave, as I did not have a wetsuit. I was told, “No worries, this is a dry cave.” Well, we got about 10 meters into the cave and had to ford through cold water up to our thighs! I said I thought this was a dry cave, and that was when it was explained to me that in New Zealand, a cave is considered a wet cave if the water puts out your carbide lamp – anything less is considered a dry cave!

Our tidy paddock.

The view from the first floor

The beach was quiet in the morning, noon, and night.

There were many neat rock formations along the beach.

The native bush is considered “tiger country.”

Much of the bush around Paturau has been cleared for farming, but there are still untouched patches to be found.

See all the people?

…And this is Easter weekend!