Home > NZ > Canyoning adventure off Piha

Canyoning adventure off Piha

Just as I promised in my adrenaline post, I booked myself on a day long canyoning trip out of Auckland. I had not heard of canyoning till my Queenstown trip, where I saw a few brochures on Glenorchy canyoning and felt sad I would not be doing it. But a long gap between my last exam and my long flight ensured that I would be able to do it, though not in Queenstown.

Canyons are very attractive natural formations, the charm of water and walls of rock combined. This makes them ideal for small waterfalls and pools. Canyoning involves walking along the streams, jumping into the pools, abseiling the waterfalls, sliding down them, in short, lots of adventure. Confidence with water is a must. I read canyoning is popular in Spain and other parts of Europe. Of course, NZ, being the adventure zone of the earth, will not let go of such an exciting activity and offers it at many places. Karnataka has one at Dandeli (Kali Rafting http://kalirafting.com/other.htm).

9Dec. I have chosen the Blue Canyons adventure. It is a Saturday morning and I await the shuttle at Sky Tower. They describe it the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere. I am not much fascinated by tall structures, especially if they make you pay for it. So I end up not seeing it. My guide Neil who runs the Auckland trips picks me, a couple of British guys and a Kiwi lawyer couple. We don’t often find any natives on the touristy things and so it is strange that a Kiwi couple that too a lawyer one is coming! Though I had seen West Auckland from the air, I have not seen its attractions like the Waitakere ranges and the Piha beach. Neil is very friendly. The sights from the top of the drive are pleasing. Just before the Piha beach road, we branch off to the Lone Kauri Road. We stop by a shack, where we get our kit (wet suit, harness) for the adventure.

It has been an usual summer day, quite nice and warm. We walk for an hour amidst the beautiful bushes. Just as we start to get tired, we reach the start of our canyoning adventure. We get into our wet suits and practise abseiling. We walk along the rocks for some distance before we get into our first jump. It is a freestyle jump. None of the swimming pools I have been to have allowed me to dive and so this is my first dive. No hesitation, no inhibition – every adventure freak must have these. I fall awkwardly into the waters and manage to come out. A pleasant feeling covers me as I complete the swim to safety. The stream is cold, but the excitement of the jump trumps the coldness many times over.

The next is a bigger jump. Who is scared of heights? The English guy tries a reverse flip and gets it spectacularly right. Let me do the dive properly first. I lose my over-sized shoe in the process. Our guide goes to the bottom of the pool and comes up with my shoe after a few tries. This jump is about 15feet high and surely is one of the best of the trip. Our first slide comes up shortly. A slide is just like the one we find in a children’s park except that here it is all nature’s play. Most of us choose to slide backwards, which is cool. We can also choose to jump into the same pool. Our guide also tells us of the Matrix style jump, where you walk off the rocks for a mini-arc before diving into the waters. Jumps and slides are not enough, we are craving for more.

The next thing is abseiling. We have to descend down a thin waterfall about 50ft high. I have been a decent abseiler at Waikato. But the wet abseil is a different experience, as the water hits your face in the descent. All the same, the thrill of climbing down the falls with the water is hard to match. Neil gives me his shoes as my ill-fitting ones seem to like the water more than my feet. There are a few controlled jumps where we have to jump in a particular spot to avoid rocks and the shallow waters. More jumps and slides later, I feel this is the best day long adventure out of Auckland. We have our lunch soon after an abseil. A picnic lunch in a picteresque setting! Some chocolate bars, buns and rolls make up our lunch. How I wish we had some fruits. We fed a few eels that were present in the streams. Our adventure continues.

We walk for some time in the streams. I like the last waterfall very much and end up standing under it for 15 minutes. Luckily I was the first to abseil that time. Our last abseil and jump are a fitting climax to the whole trip. We walk beside the stream to go back. More than 5 hours of adventure leaves me tired as I walk up to our shuttle. Back in Auckland, I grab a few keychains as souvenirs. This day is my last adventure here and has been a very fulfilling one. Except for the raft, most of my other adventures are quite short ones. This being a day long activity has completely overwhelmed one. I cannot wait to do it in Dandeli now.

Categories: NZ
  1. sk
    26 December 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Hey Sparkie,
    The whole adventure sounds awesome! Glad to know you are back in India safe. Congrats on the job! :–))

  2. 27 December 2006 at 6:37 am

    thanks sk, hope you had a merry xmas

  3. 30 December 2006 at 11:29 am

    WRapt you enjoyed Piha Beach. It’s my home. You can see photos etc on

    http://www.pihabeach.co.nz or http://www.pihanz.co.nz


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