Day 138 on the Road
Canyoning with Canyoning New Zealand
Today we are joining Canyoning New Zealand for some canyoning in Queenstown. If you like this video and want to see more bucket list inspiration then dive into our YouTube Channel.
Today we are going canyoning in the Kawarau wait… Today we are going canyoning in the Kawarau canyon.
This morning we are being picked up right in front of the Nomads hostel here in Queenstown by the team from Canyoning New Zealand. They are taking us for an epic canyoning adventure today. For those of you that don’t know what canyoning it it’s basically turning nature into your own playground. You find a stream that has created a canyon and you make your way through that canyon all the way to the bottom of it. It’s a lot of fun and it usually takes a lot of skill.
To make your way down the bottom of the canyon you use abseiling you use rock climbing you jump from waterfalls. It’s absolutely epic.
We’ve just been kitted up with some two piece thick wetsuits some neoprene layers socks booties helmets harnesses I think it’s safe to say that we might get a little bit cold today and we are fully kitted up fore that.
After a quick safety briefing and quick practice round on the abseil we are now making our way to the canyon. It doesn’t look like much to start with we’re just sort of making our way through the forest but the further we go down this stream the more epic and dramatic the scenery gets. I really don’t know what to expect from tour this is the first time that I’ve ever done canyoning and as we’re making our way down this stream which is getting rockier the walls of the canyon are getting higher I am in anticipation of what is about to happen.
Our guide is called Rob which may I say is an absolutely awesome name and he is super experienced in canyoning he has been working all over New Zealand and knows most of the streams around like his back pocket.
He tells us really early one that because this canyon is one of the narrowest that he gets to work in it’s one of his favourites. He tells us that because it’s much more technical it requires much more skills and he really enjoys that.
And this is probably why the Kawarau canyon is one of the most popular canyoning tours in the Queenstown area.
But before we reach the canyon itself we have to make our way through the very thick native forest around. It’s absolutely impressive how just below all the wineries above lie such a massive thick forest. the Kawarau Canyon is located in the Gibbston Valley area which is a very famous wine region meaning that there is heaps of fields yet we are in a massive canyon right below them.
And now the real adventure begins this is our first major challenge for this canyoning trip and we are using a natural water slide in the river to make our way down to the next part of the canyon.
Rob is attaching us to an abseiling rope and lowering us down the waterfall to start with until we get to a point where he releases the rope and we just fall into the pool below with the waterfall crashing over our heads.
As I’m making my way down the waterfall it’s really hard understand what is happening to me but it’s only when I take a step back and watch the next person coming down the waterfall I can see what craziness I have just done.
It’s a chaotic experience jumping between all those rocks and this massive waterfall in the middle it creates a lot of noise which reflects the pan of the cliffs making it absolutely roaring we can barely hear each other out let along what rob is telling us. So we kind of wing it around the end.
Once the first waterfall has been cleared we are now making our way toward our next challenge. It’s a quick little stroll along the stream until we reach the next section where we have to clip in for our own safety.
We are now really getting into the heart of the canyon. We are surrounded by these towering rock walls covered in moss it really feels like such a wild environment and it’s so awesome to be able to come to such an isolated place.
As soon as we see Rob dropping his bag and pulling the rope we know that something epic is about to happen. Don’t slip because we’re about to get down another waterfall.
This is the two tier waterfall and the first section is kind of a slide going down the side and the next section well we kind of have to figure it out ourselves because Rob is not going to be here we’re not going to be able to hear him anymore and the rope kind of finishes at some point. But luckily there is a deep pool at the bottom of the waterfall and this is where I basically land while Laura is having a lot of fun taking pictures of us in struggle.
Approaching the waterfall is a bit nerve-wracking to start with. We are just looking at this thing this narrow shoot just thinking how the hell are we gonna get down there. But once we make our way down the feeling of just falling into the water below is really awesome and all this water is just chaotically falling onto our heads. It’s super cold super refreshing but so epic once we get to the bottom.
What’s even more impressive is every single time we are passing through a waterfall Rob is passing last and without any safety. So he knows this canyon so well it’s crazy.
Going through those waterfalls gives us a real feel and sense of how big those waterfalls actually are. From afar those waterfalls actually feel quite small but where you are in the middle of it jumping alongside the water it feels really big so even the tiniest and smallest waterfall actually feels epic.
The really cool thing about doing these canyoning tours as a group is that we have people to cheer on and other people cheer us on and really motivate us to get through the obstacles. We are having an absolute blast with our group.
We are all helping each other go through the tougher parts of the canyon but what i really like about this tour as well is that it’s kind of like a personal challenge as well. Although all the major risks around us have been taken care of by Rob we really actually have to really think about where we’re putting our feet where we are going to climb. It’s really like a mental challenge as well as a physical one.
The rock climbing part was especially challenging since I had to carry a massive backpack carrying all our massive cameras. And after jumping in the water so much it got soaking wet and real heavy making maneuvering myself through the narrow canyon a real challenge.
I do not envy Rob having to carry a massive rope which when wet can weigh over 30kg. But we’re already about to tackle our last waterfall of the day this is the tallest this is the biggest this is the meanest and I am going in first. I basically take my time because laura wants to take a lot of pictures but the force of the water is pushing me down and I’m at the bottom of it in no time.
After we all get a go on it Laura is the last one to make her way down the last waterfall and this is a gushing one. But she finally makes it through and that is cause for celebration.
The crazy dancing is really keeping us warm in the cold queenstown weather and this is why the tour only runs from October to April because any colder and it would be undoable. the last section of our 4 hour tour tour which is an initiation to canyoning for people that don’t know much about canyoning is taking us through the rest of the stream very easily we are just following the path maybe climbing a couple of ropes but it’s a breeze until we reach the end of the stream and we’re gonna make our way back up the mountain.
it’s kind of the perfect time for everybody to give themselves a good pat on the back. Everybody has a big grin on their faces as soon as we start heading uphill because we know that we actually made it through.
We are now making our way back to the start of the canyon on the more dry and quicker way to get back through this area. Here we get some awesome views of the river valleys around us and we actually realise that it took us over an hour to get through the canyon when it only actually taking us 10 minutes to walk back.
That was really epic and so far it’s 150 odd activity we’ve done it’s in my top 10 it was really challenging we’re not just guided through you know you’ve seen us in many activities where literally we’ve been told for three hours where to place each of our feet this time we have to figure shoot out it was challenging at times but not undoable. We’re safe all the way but we didn’t feel safe which made it a bit more fun. And yeah.
That is the first time I’ve done like a proper canyoning sort of tour so yeah it’s not too scary. It’s like a little bit scary before you start doing something then you realise oh actually this is like really good so yeah. So you’re coming canyoning again with me? yeah. And a guide? And a guide yeah.
While everyone else is not in their swimsuits. Are we going canyoning or what? I’m ready to go. You’re really taking this impression all the way aren’t you.