Canyoning - so what's it all about?
Canyoning is a great outdoor pursuit that's gaining popularity around the world, however, it's surprisingly still off the radar of many adventure seekers. This sport provides a unique and exhilarating way of embracing the wild outdoors and immersing yourself in areas of incredible natural beauty, plenty of which we have here in New Zealand. We thought we take this opportunity to lay out some of the nitty-gritty of canyoning in New Zealand and what we often get up to on tour with Adventure Junkies.
In a nutshell, canyoning is the sport or pursuit of navigating and descending through water-filled canyons by using a series of outdoor activities such as scrambling, jumping, abseiling, sliding over waterfalls, swimming and by the use of ziplines....yes it's heaps of fun with plenty of adrenalin!!.
Mountainous countries like New Zealand often have endless opportunities for canyoning, with our rugged and wild terrain providing stunning narrow gorges and canyons that are home to numerous drops, sparkling rock pools and thundering waterfalls. Canyoning can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels as experiences can range from being very easy and approachable at one end of the scale, to being extremely difficult and requiring expert technical skills, equipment and knowledge to have fun and remain safe at the other.
At Adventure Junkies we have experienced many incredible canyoning adventures with our clients in numerous canyons throughout the South Island and we include some of our favourite spots as a standard activity inclusion on our tours. Every canyon descent is unique and largely determined by its own natural features, for example, some are made up of mostly abseiling routes whereas others feature mostly rock jumps,scrambles and slides to navigate the way through. We, however have chosen canyons that feature incredible natural beauty, that are adventurous in nature, but importantly incorporate all of the great components of canyoning such as abseiling, rock jumps, sliding over waterfalls and ziplines as this variety is what we love about the sport.
In Queenstown, we are very lucky to have an awesome canyon located at Twelve Mile Delta. Not only is it a short 10-minute drive from the town centre, but it also requires just a short 10 minute walk in the forest to the canyon entrance making it perfect for a half day canyoning adventure. This canyon is suitable for all abilities and also a great option for families.
It's a really fun trip in a stunningly beautiful environment, perfect for a first canyoning experience that allows you to challenge yourself and get a taste of what canyoning is all about without being too intimidated. No previous experience is required, and although you don't need to know how to swim, you should definitely be confident in the water.
You can also choose the level of challenge you want throughout your trip as the guides can provide alternative routes and will instruct you through every twist, turn and drop!
This great canyoning experience is included as standard in both our 3 Day QT Adventure trip and our 3 Day QT Adrenalin trip which are adventure and adrenalin loaded three-day tours set in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.
These trips provide a thrilling long weekend and are popular with groups of adventure-hungry travellers who are a visiting for a short break to do it all and blow off some steam, as well as sports teams, student groups and families who are short on time but keen to do it all.
Another amazing canyoning trip that we include as standard is located in the ever so impressive and beautiful Abel Tasman National Park located at the top of the South Island. The Torrent River canyoning features in our 10 Day NZ Explorer tour and is most definitely a major highlight of the tour.
This full-day trip begins with an exhilarating water taxi ride through the stunning Abel Tasman National Park to Anchorage beach, and from here we leave
the golden sand beaches of the coast for a stunning 1.5 hour walk up into the forested Abel Tasman National Park to reach the access point of this
awesome remote canyon.
The Torrent River includes some amazing rock jumps plus epic slides over waterfalls, abseiling, scrambling, floating and ziplining through the canyon over approximately 3.5 hours. The trip finishes with a royal slide into Cleopatras Pool…and from the pool it is a 30 minute stroll along the river and beach back
to Anchorage where the water taxi awaits to return us back across the crystal clear waters of Abel Tasman National Park.
This canyon is a real favourite of ours as it is simply loaded with adventure and offers real exhilaration in a sublime environment. When you combine this with the hike in the National Park and the return water taxis it's just an unbeatable day!
Canyoning is also a firm favourite as an add-on activity for our clients when it is not part of the standard itinerary such as our 10 Day NZ Adrenalin tour and
our 10 Day NZ Adventure Tour. Both of these trips allow for some free time in the Queenstown area which means that we can also make a visit the world famous Routeburn Valley in Mount Aspiring National Park for another truly incredible canyoning experience.
This National Park forms part of Te Wahipounamu which is internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the sole reason many people travel to New Zealand, often specifically to visit this incredible valley and hike the Routeburn track.
This part of the world is revered and protected as it contains rocks, plants and animals which take us back 80 million years to a time when New Zealand was part of the ancient super continent Gondwana. It also has spectacular ice-carved fiords, lakes and valleys amongst the finest examples of glaciated landforms in the Southern Hemisphere and is home to many rare plants and animals including the Kea alpine parrot.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the Routeburn Canyoning trip in our opinion provides unparalleled natural beauty, this area really is something very special.
It's not just the scenery that will wow you here (and it really will, believe us) the nature of the Canyoning also steps up from that of the local Queenstown Canyon at Twelve Mile as it provides a more challenging experience with higher rock jumps and abseils in a more technical canyon environment. To get the most out of this trip you'll have a strong level of fitness, good water confidence and a keen sense of adventure!
If you are someone who loves the idea of sliding down chutes and over waterfalls, rock jumping into pools of pristine alpine water, abseiling through thundering torrents, ziplining across chasms and plunging into crystal clear pools with a big grin on your face then canyoning is definitely for you!
Let us know your level of adventure and we'll help you get into some of the very best canyons that New Zealand has to offer this summer.