Jimnyfest – Waipara River with The Jimny Club

“On a Mish” #378 Jimnyfest. Waipara River (State Highway One to Coast). North Canterbury. 18.6.2023. If you are after a new Suzuki Jimny you better get in line. Who would have thought that a little truck could have such a cult following?! Raising the price didn’t seem to slow the flow of folks wanting to get their hands on one. And I can say from first hand experience that the fun had in a Jimny is near priceless. I hadn’t put much thought into the Suzuki Jimny until my cousin first picked me up in his and we went on an epic outing up the Havelock Valley. Since then I have not only seen more and more trucks around, but I have also seen plenty sporting the accessories my cousin now sells. He is now so deep in the Jimny-world that it is gonna be hard for him to get out!

Our first trip was a solo mish and since then, thanks to the power of social media, the whanau has grown. When Adam tells the world there is going to be a Jimny mish, the Jimnys assemble in ever increasing numbers.

Along with the yarns, Adam’s plan with the club is to show fellow owners what their little truck can really do and most are amazed with what they never realised they had. Word had definitely spread throughout the community and, with a single post on Facebook, a small gravel car park near the Waipara Bridge on State Highway One became the assembly point for many, many trucks.

The plan was to drive up to a point where we could access the river and then follow it all the way to its mouth beside the Amberley Beach Golf Course.

The dreary overcast day was lit up by the colours of the line of trucks. The cloud layer was so low that we could only see about half a kilometre. Normally drizzle dulls the mood, however the smiles on the faces of all involved cured any negative thoughts.

It took about 10 minutes before our group of around 30 became about six. A wrong turn by one meant most of the group were going in the wrong direction! We regrouped and then once again reminded people of the ‘if you lose sight of the vehicle behind, stop’ rule.

The next couple of hours were spent bouncing down the Waipara River. At first progress was slowed slightly by some new reluctant Jimny owners. But once everyone was aware they were driving a riverbed bandit, obstacles that at first appeared insurmountable were easily overcome in a truck that a lot of bigger 4wd vehicle owners snigger at!

As time drifted on we got closer to the ocean and at one point it looked as though we would be stopped by a mess of downed trees. It was an almost apocalyptic environment as most trees had been forcefully removed and swept aside as if a monster had stomped its way through. The tree carnage slowed the team until a small corridor through the destruction was found. A few bends in the river later and we were on our way again.

The many twists and turns were all leading to a location Adam and myself knew well. Back in 2020 we thought we were invincible, until we faced the mud at the Waipara Rivermouth. We instantly knew where we were when we arrived at the maze of ruts and mud. Not wanting to repeat the muddy defeat of 2020, we rerouted the team and looked for another way to get onto the beach. Getting 25 Jimny’s stuck might be a bad look for the Jimny Club!

Adam in His Element

Another way was found and the entire group regrouped with a view of the Pacific Ocean. It was a dramatic end to a very enjoyable day. A day when I’m sure at least a few people’s eyes were opened to the capabilities of their sweet ride!

In classic Adam style, instead of taking the road / easy way back to the highway we returned via the way we came and after goodbyes were said only two trucks remained. Together we bounced our way back up the Waipara. The trip back was much quicker due to the two trucks being lifted and loud, and we were no longer concerned about others in non-modified Jimnys.

After completing the mish, the two jacked Jims were loaded onto their trailers and we had time to relive what was a much better day than first expected. The rain had the potential to make the a day a mess, but in the end everyone had a blast at the Waipara Jimnyfest!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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