Archery in Methven: A True Robin Hood Experience

Day 209 is a very special day on this road trip of 365 days doing 365 activities. Today is Robin’s birthday! What better way to celebrate than to be in Methven, New Zealand?! In true birthday party style, we are going to be doing some archery later this afternoon. Until then, Laura is conjuring a birthday surprise in the campervan – (and no, it’s nothing weird).

Birthday on a gap year in New Zealand!

Although the outside of the campervan looks dented and bruised, the inside has balloons hanging from everywhere possible! Birthday presents are wrapped in the leftover Christmas paper Laura used to send presents back home to the UK. (Backpackers can’t be choosers when it comes to birthday wrapping paper). The centrepiece of this grand birthday display are small wheels of camembert, brie and blue cheese stacked on top of each other mimicking a layered cake with candles on top – ideal for the stereotypical Frenchman. Even if Robin doesn’t like it, Laura is feeling pretty proud of her setup right here!

Birthday games

Of course, Robin loves it! (And who wouldn’t? Seriously?! Did we mention the cheese cake?) One of the presents is a travel-size edition of the boardgame Rummikub, a game we played on day 67 with a group of ladies back in Manawatu, so the first thing we do is have a game before we get onto Robin’s favourite thing to do for his birthday… do some work!

Blog posts written, emails sent, and bread purchased, we sit in the sunny back garden of the Mt Hutt Bunkhouse and eat an entire loaf of bread and all the cheese in one go. Out of guilt, we slice up a tomato to get some vitamins in us… But it’s too late now.

Lesson one: point the right way! Lesson one: point the right way!
Our target is getting a beating! Our target is getting a beating!
Robin Hood? Is that you?! Robin Hood? Is that you?!
An archer was here... An archer was here...

Stunning drive to Whistlewind

Now for the big birthday activity, and an activity that so many locals in Methven have said we have to try, we are going to make like Robin Hood and sling some arrows in the woods! With a campervan still full of balloons, we drive along the milky grey waters of the Rakaia Gorge and gain some height and an amazing perspective over the Canterbury Plains on the way up to the Terrace Downs Resort at a place called Windwhistle.

At first, we’re a little ashamed to bring a huge old campervan to such an impeccable-looking resort surrounded by a golf course, but thankfully, the wind is making the place live well and truly up to its name so there’s not a single golfer to judge us!

Archery in the woods

Thankfully, our archery experience with Newzengland, is sheltered in the woods, so any stray arrows can only be blamed on us! Our host, Neil, comes and collects us from the grand building of the Terrace Downs reception, along with his dog, Ted, and takes us into a small area of pine forest. Yep, this is EXACTLY like Robin Hood!

A walkway decorated in most awesome authentic-looking way, with large ropes tied between tree trunks, leads us to a small shack looking out toward two targets.

The game is on!

That awesome feeling of holding a bow (and actually hitting the target)

Neil gives us the rundown on how to load a bow, aim and fire. While all this is going on, we are doing our best to concentrate rather than let our minds be filled with: “Oh my God, I’m holding a bow. This is so cool!”

The first couple of shots are a little all over the place as we get used to the idea of releasing a bow string so close to our faces, but that is soon forgotten as we start feeling the pure joy of hitting the target!

Rounds and rounds of fun

As soon as the last of our six arrows each hits the target we are super keen to get them back and go again! Archery is so addictively fun!

Neil gives us tips along the way, getting us to reach a better place on the target just by getting us the adjust the tiniest thing. Then we graduate to the next level: doing some archery challenges.

Concentration face Concentration face
Not bad, not bad Not bad, not bad
Let's hope it is the target on the other end of this arrow Let's hope it is the target on the other end of this arrow

The ultimate archery challenges

As if we weren’t in the spirit of bow-slinging enough, Neil sets us a new challenge for each round, either to work together to get a certain score, or compete against each other for victory! We lose count of how many rounds we play – like we said: addictive.

Feeling like Legolas and Katniss Everdeen, we strut out of the forest like archery masters. What a great taster for a sport in such an awesome setting! Being able to hit the target but not being able to consistently aim for the bulls-eye just makes us want to try over and over again. When we are in the Methven area again, we know exactly where we’re going to go.

At least we have Rummikub…

Until then, we make do with the Rummikub game Robin got for his birthday and play with a couple of backpackers from India and Germany back at the Mt Hutt Bunkhouse. Laura also spruces up some birthday cookies for everyone in huge quantities making use of the 1.5kg of flour that we don’t want to carry around the country with us.

Tomorrow, we’re getting up to more Methven antics by checking out Washpen Falls. Join us then!

Laura and Robin

What's the score?
What's the score? Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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See you tomorrow!

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