Canyoning In The Abel Tasman Was The Best Experience Of My Life

Canyoning in the Abel Tasman National Park was one of the best experiences of my life. I really hope you get the chance to experience this epic trip while travelling through the Nelson region, as it is such a wonderful, soul strengthening activity!

But, what is canyoning you ask?

Good question.

Before this trip I had never really heard of canyoning before and assumed it was a type of rock climbing. Little did I know you literally float down water falls, jump rocks, absail, dive into pools, climb stuff and a whole lot of swimming!

I can’t even begin to describe how much fun and joy I had during the trip and hopefully the details below will give you a little idea about the trip and encourage you to try it for yourself.

Who Did I Go With?

I was lucky enough to do my trip with Abel Tasman Canyons who run the only guided canyoning trip in the Abel Tasman. The team is so incredibly professional and I felt completely safe in their care. They are also a really good laugh and bring some much needed humour into challenging situations. They helped me to push my limits jumping off really high rock faces into the river pools below. Without their help there is no way I would have attempted this!

So, You’re going Canyoning?! What to Bring:

  • I recommend starting off the day right with a massive breakfast because you don’t eat a whole lot during the day.
  • Togs.
  • Towel (For later).
  • Muesli bar or a little snack (For when you’re back in Marahau).
  • Jandles.
  • Spare T-Shirt & Shorts (To wear when you’re back at Anchorage Bay).
  • Walking clothes (You walk for about 1 hour).
  • Water bottle (For when you’re back in Anchorage Bay as you can drink water from the canyon).
  • Sneakers that you will wear in the canyon (You want shoes with little grib as these go better in the canyon!).

Details of the Guided Canyoning Trip:

The trip starts off with a briefing in Marahau (the little village before the Abel Tasman National Park) at their little base at the back of Aqua Taxi. You try on your wetsuits, get your gear ready and then load up on the water taxi which takes you out to Anchorage Bay (this in itself is a wonderful experience, see photo below & if you would like to read more about the beaches in the Abel Tasman National Park please head over to one of my other blog posts by clicking here).

anchorage bay

At Anchorage Bay you gather together to get your gear ready (you walk with the wetsuit and harness over your shoulder and it’s surprisingly comfy) for the 1 hour hike up a hill to the top of the Torrent River Canyon. But don’t worry if that sounds tough as you stop for a little juice break during the trip.

Finally, when you reach the top of the canyon you stop for lunch and have a much needed drink of water from the fresh river. (Good luck drinking the water without falling in!).

Once you have had your lunch you get into your wetsuit and harness and take your first plunge into the water! (It was freezing but you soon warmed up!).

I found I felt rather stupid floating down a river in sneakers, unable to swim properly because I was so flamboyant in the wetsuit. But this added to the fun!

Note: Getting into the wetsuits was an interesting experience. Please don’t make the mistake of putting your wetsuit on backwards as it is super tricky to get on and off! Also, when you make it to Cleopatras pool make sure you keep your wetsuit on as you have to walk in it back to Anchorage Bay.

abel tasman canyon

Finally, when you get to the bottom of the canyon you walk back to Anchorage Bay and catch the water taxi back to Marahau.

The cool thing is you don’t have to worry at all about taking photos as they do that for you! They send you out photos and videos two days after the trip which is such a laugh!

Now get ready to enjoy booming waterfalls, slides, jumps, floating and a whole lot more!

How I felt:

Alive, exhilirated, empowered and like I really could do anything. I also felt like I wanted to be a canyon guide afterwards lol. It was such a magical experience being able to push my limits. You feel as though you are really in touch with nature as you literally have nothing on your back and can float down the river sipping away at the fresh water. It’s such a wonderful experience that I can’t really put it into words, so just take this photo as proof of how happy I was, haha.

canyoning abel tasman

  • My favourite part was doing the knees up bomb down a massive waterfall slide.
  • One cool part was being lowered down a waterfall and feeling the heavy rush of the water on top of my helmet.
  • I also really enjoyed swimming under intense waterfalls- Nothing makes you feel more alive.
  • Leaping off the rocks was an exhilarating experience and not over thinking things was key! As the guides will tell you.
  • The only thing I had to worry about the most throughout the whole trip was what hand gesture to pull and pose to do for all the numerous photos they take! Haha

Over all, it was one of the best activities I have done in my life and I can not recommend it enough!

I really hope this post has given you some good insight into what canyoning in the Abel Tasman is like!

Be sure to let me know if you have been or are intending to go.

Lee X 

Have you ever been canyoning before? If so, I would love to hear about your experience!!

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