While I was in Costa Rica in April I gave what was called Canyoneering. It involved 2 abseils and two…sort of abseil, sort of ziplines. The 2 full abseils were short, the sort of ziplines were the larger ones. The would have been highlight of the activity was that all 4 activities were over waterfalls. Except it was so dry at the time that there was no water to be found on any of the falls. I was left underwhelmed by the experience.
When a chance to do Canyoning (the local term) here in New Zealand came up, I decided to give it another shot. I was very glad I did.
Early in the morning I was picked up in Thames by a van with 2 guides and 7 other adventurers, on our way to the spot I had just hiked the day prior – the Kauaeranga Valley and the Billy Goat Track.
We packed all of our gear into numerous waterproof sacks. Myself and one other guy got the worst of it – we carried the rope in our packs. Incredibly heavy stuff. The hike was grueling. 40 minutes uphill all the way, with only a short stop. The heavy weight didn’t make things either. But eventually we got to the top, donned our wetsuits and safety gear, and got a quick practice with abseiling. And then we were off. I went first.
After the first abseil everyone had the option of doing the first cliff jump. It was about 6 meters or so, and to do the later, larger jumps you had to do this one (proving to the guides you could). Myself and the two other guys took up the challenge and jumped.
The water wasn’t *terribly* cold and we have wetsuits on, but still gives you a good wakeup! After the jump we did the highest waterfall of the day at over 80m high. It was tackled in 2 parts. This photo is from half way down.
Here all 8 of us piled along a tiny ledge (we had a safety line as well), while the two guides moved the gear down for the second rapel.
The view down was a pretty good one while we waited!
After we finished that abseil, we had a few more waterfalls to rappel, then myself and the 2 other guys did the BIG jump. At 13m down to the water, it was a good leap. Only one picture turn out of the 3 jumps, but it’s a pretty cool shot (just not of me :P).
From there we did a few more abseils before having a bit easier time with what is called a Flying Fox. We abseil down part way…and then just hold on for the rest, sort of like a zip line.
After that it was another group photo time! This time on a huge Kauri log that got stuck when it was being logged….probably 80 years ago!
Then it was time for the wettest and wildest of the abseils. Called ‘The Funnel’ waterfall, all the water comes crashing down in one fairly small, yet deeply cut into the cliffside spot. You get wet, very wet. I’m at the top, mid then bottom in the shots.
After that exhilerating experience, we rested up on a ledge before our final abseils.
And we are done! I think this photo was also for insurance purposes, showing that everyone did indeed survive. Well, the abseiling at least, we still had a 30 minute hike to get out.
We all survived the last hike. Exhausted, sore and hungry (we did get fed lunch along the way of sandwiches and warm tang though, but this really works up an appetite!), looking back we can all say we successfully traversed all of these waterfalls. An amazing experience, my favourite ‘adventure’ activity so far here in NZ!