5 Epic guided canyoning experiences in New Zealand
For an unforgettable day out in New Zealand there is nothing better than testing your limits in a rugged remote canyon.
For the ultimate mix of adventure and scenic beauty, canyoning offers the chance to see some of New Zealand’s most thrilling landscapes.
Sleeping God Canyon – The Coromandel
Some say this is the ultimate New Zealand canyoning experience – a journey into an otherwise inaccessible environment, last frequented by kauri foresters 100 years ago, and a gem in a region famed for its outstanding landscapes. On The Coromandel coast – just south of Auckland – jump from a 13-metre high ledge and abseil down a 30-metre gushing waterfall in a day pumped with adrenalin hits and moments of pure exhilaration. The Sleeping God Canyon expedition may have you exceeding your personal limits but the enduring consequence is likely to be an unforgettable day out.
Less daunting than it sounds, Doom Creek is a fantastic canyon located in the Mt Richmond Forest Park of the South Island’s Nelson Tasman region. Abel Tasman Canyons guides tours into hidden places, moving from spaces where the sky disappears to sun-drenched shingle beaches. Doom Creek has plenty of jumps, but never compulsory because the canyon is almost horizontal with steep vertical walls. It’s your choice as to how high you climb before you turn and launch back into crystal clear pools.
Just outside the resort town of Wanaka – a year-round outdoor mecca in New Zealand’s southern lakes region - this canyoning experience takes place in the spectacular canyons of the Matukituki River Valley beneath the Misty Mountains pathways once travelled by hobbits and dwarves. Explore crystal alpine pools and ancient forest, plunge through water-polished chutes and abseil down waterfalls as you climb, swim and float down through a world of water and rock punctuated by crashing waterfalls. This unique alpine journey will have you extending your comfort zone.
West of Auckland and away from the city lights, Piha Canyon has formed in a volcanic rock valley that’s a spectacular setting for adventure. The highlight is a series of thundering waterfalls that cascade their way down the valley towards the ocean including the highest commercially-abseiled waterfall in the Auckland region. For a more extreme option, the adventurous opt for the night canyoning experience exploring the passages through caves, pools and ledges, illuminated by only a headlamp and the glowworms glittering on rock walls.
Leave behind Queenstown, to venture along the shores of Lake Wakatipu passing through Glenorchy and into Mount Aspiring National Park's Routeburn Valley. In this World Heritage Area – close to several locations used for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies – discover a spectacular environment that’s perfect for some serious adventure. Set off on foot and after a gentle 30-minute walk through native alpine forest, the excitement begins as you start the descent on your way to becoming a true canyoner.