– MARCH 11, 2015
Today we arrived at the town of Wanaka. It’s about an hour north of Queenstown (our next destination) and the only thing we have down for Wanaka is a canyoning adventure. The cool thing was when we arrived at Wanaka it had the exact same feel and look as Kelowna, BC. It looks like God took a frying pan and smacked it right into a mountain range, then provided a beautiful lake for the town to surround it. I am a fan of Kelowna, so this was a nice surprise. Even the town around it looked just like Kelowna.
So 8am came and our guides came to our camp site to pick us up for what is advertised as a 12 hour adventure from start to finish. It was actually 9.5 hours, but still that’s a long day. We then checked our gear and rode for an hour to reach the canyon. When we arrived we were then informed that it would be a 2 hour bush walk up a steep hill to find the start. This was not in the brochure, but we trekked on anyhow.
Undeterred, we kept up with our guides and did it in only 90 minutes.
The path was not marked, so our guides got lost a few times, but then quickly found the “trail”. This is the most difficult canyoning in New Zealand, so they don’t want anyone using the path and then getting hurt in the canyon with nobody there to help. It was fun to watch the guides get lost…you never know when they’re kidding around or truly lost though.
At the end we found the starting point, but it was a 75 degree slope straight down to the canyon. We carefully held onto trees and branches as we descended downward to the canyon. This was the most dangerous thing we have done on this trip thus far…they really need to find a new path to the start. It could easily have been bad trouble for one false step…I kid you not!
Once we reached the bottom we unpacked and had a small lunch on the rocks. Then we geared up and posed for the picture below.
The scenery around us was breathtaking.
There were opportunities to slide, crawl, swim, leap and abseil throughout the 3 hour time in the canyon itself…and of course opportunities to pose for the camera!
The water was as high as safely allowed, so we got the best experience possible. It was fast moving water though…no joke! Each step had to be carefully executed and your knees had to be strong.
There were abseiling opportunities throughout the canyon. I can’t imaging how the guides got the anchors there in the first place.
The conditions of the canyon were crazy!
And they even employed the use of the spiderman technique.
Every step was different. Deep then shallow then deep….etc.
Jill said she isn’t afraid of heights…looks like the truth to me.
Just don’t look down!
Then we had a chance to make a big jump…see the splash below!
Every abseil opportunity was new and interesting.
It was helpful to find a ledge every so often as the guides checked ahead. This location was named “Hintze Pool”. We staked our claim!
After three hours in the canyon (and more than 6 in total) we arrived at the bridge for the final walk.
Still smiles from everyone! We tamed the hardest and longest canyon in New Zealand!
We then took off our gear and got into the jeep for the one hour drive back to Wanaka. By the time we got there we were dead tired…just enough energy to have dinner and go to sleep. This was a great day and one we would love to do again, but it was also the most expensive thing we have done/will do in New Zealand.
Now on to Queenstown and bungee jumping, sky-diving and river boarding!
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.