We decided it was time to ask some questions about how canyoning in the Abel Tasman started. Toine Houtenbos is the Founder and Managing Director of the successful tourism business, Abel Tasman Canyons Limited. Toine and his partner Eva set up Abel Tasman Canyons in 2012 and have since been on the ride of their lives through the trials and tribulations associated with establishing a business in the Adventure Tourism Industry of New Zealand.
Old mother Torrent, her merciless flow, her fresh clean waters. The way she glistens in the sunlight on a hot summer’s day. Churning, trickling, cascading, whirling, and bubbling. I can dream each step, each handhold as if walking in my sleep. It is no joke, I, like my fellow guides, could walk through Torrent River backwards, blindfolded, possibly even upside down and still find my way. I know it like the back of my hand, knowing just where to step, what to clip, when to jump.
Customers often look at us with mouths wide open, gawping at how effortlessly we leap from rock to rock in the canyon. It’s almost as if we were born as ready-made canyoning guides. But today we’re going to let you in on a little secret… There was a first time for all of us. At one stage we also walked through the canyon feeling like a baby giraffe taking their first steps, and we too felt our stomachs shrink at the prospect of the 8metre jump. So we thought we would share with you our first times in the canyon, and how we eventually all became the guides that we are today.
What were you doing before you became a guide?
Lana: I was teaching kayaking and managing a ski school in Canada. Read More
We recently welcomed high school student, and family friend, Tess into our canyons as a trainee guide for a few weeks. We wanted to hear a little bit more about her experience, so we brought her into the ATC base to ask her a few questions.
Hey! Thank you for having me. My family are Dutch and so we met Toine through a Dutch family friend a few years ago. Since we were first introduced we’ve spent lots of time together, having dinners at their house or at ours, going tramping together and celebrating Sinter Klaas (a Dutch tradition which happens on the 5th of December). Toine and I get along really well because we both enjoy outdoor activities and love being out in the natural environment.
A Day in the Life of a Canyoning Guide
What does a canyoning guide do? They guide people through canyons, obviously. But what does the job of a canyoning guide actually entail?
Working in the office of a canyoning company it doesn’t take long to realise how much work the guides have to do without even entering the canyon. All of the guides love their jobs, and without a doubt they all live and breathe the outdoors, however there are certain aspects of the career that as customers we may overlook. When the guides take our customers out on a canyoning trip, it involves a whole lot more than just keeping the customers safe.
I had a chat with the guides about what their typical day entails, and this is what they said…
If I had been asked about canyoning one month ago I wouldn’t have known what to say.
I knew it involved clambering over rocks and paddling through water, but beyond that I hadn’t a clue. So after gaining employment with Abel Tasman Canyons as the Office Manager I realised that not only would I have to do my homework, but that I would have to actually go canyoning myself.