Are The Goal Posts Moving Again?

Operating a business such as River Valley is one in which the goalposts are constantly moving.

This is certainly true of the last four years. Two years of COVID, Cyclones, A summer without a summer, A Cost of Living Crisis, and a giant slip into the Rangitikei River on the popular Grade 5 white water rafting section exemplify this. As the old saying goes – “We live in interesting times”.

Each of these on its own would have been a considerable challenge, but putting them all together is almost overwhelming. Hence, the purpose of this blog post. I needed to write something cathartic, something that moves beyond these problems, acknowledging them, yes, but also looking at the good as well.

So, what are the positives?

Number one would have to be that we work with good people. People who are genuine and passionate about their roles at River Valley, whether on the river, housekeeping, cooking, answering the phone, writing emails, driving, horse wrangling, or simply mowing the lawns – well, maybe not always passionate about mowing lawns 😊.

Number two would be the guests who stay and identify with the vibe that makes River Valley what it is. We meet so many lovely people—A big thank you to all of you for visiting us.

And, of course, we grow as well. While our core offerings have changed little, the richness of what we now offer is deepening and becoming a better experience.

The food we serve only keeps getting better.

Miranda and Luke have a daily challenge of what to do with the incredible fresh produce Melissa keeps harvesting from the garden. Talking of that garden, Melissa further develops her knowledge each year, and this shows in the quality of the produce.

food platter

The river crew have faced some enormous challenges.

Not only to safely run slip affected sections of the river but also to ensure that a river trip on the Rangitikei is still fun. This is an ongoing project with some very real questions about how we achieve this on the Grade 5 section over the summer. Other sections of the river are unaffected by the slip.

Fulcrum Rapid 2023

Nicola and Katy at River Valley Stables continue on the path of natural horsemanship and providing Rides for Riders.

There have already been plenty of good comments this season about how the horses look and how responsive they are. Again, this is a journey.

Katy - Stables Team 2023

It has been heartening to see the increase in popularity of our multi-day cycle trips.

We completed our first “Gentle Annie Cycle Journey” of the season last week, which was very successful. Riders found it challenging in parts – there are some big hills – but lots of fun. The Gorges to See trip we are offering next autumn has been so popular that we have had to add further departures. Each time we do one of these rides, we get feedback and tweak the itinerary to improve the experience further.

Gentle Annie Cycle Journey

And, of course, a highlight for me has been the family of the rare Whio or Blue Duck on the main river.

In all my time guiding on the river, going back to 1986, I have never before seen Whio ducklings on the main Rangitikei River. Those ducklings show that all the mahi, or work, done over the years installing and checking predator traps is paying off.

Whio - December 2023

Interesting times for sure. However, we are still here and will be next year.

Has writing this post been cathartic for me? It has certainly helped.

I hope you can visit with us this season and experience River Valley for yourself.

All the best

Brian Megaw