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Frequently Asked Questions

What is canyoning?

Canyoning is one of the newer Abel Tasman activities. It is a combination of lots of fun stuff all bunched into one exciting activity. Trips normally start with a walk through beautiful scenery. Then it’s time to get the rubber suits on and start making your way down the canyon. We jump off cliffs into deep pools below, slide down water polished chutes and abseil besides or sometimes even through showering waterfalls. Most of the time you’ll be surrounded by steep walls covered in moss and ferns. And of course your guides will make sure you know exactly what to do. Going on a trip is the only way anyone can get to see these stunning places and experience all the fun stuff Mother Nature throws at you.

Do you look after the environment?

We absolutely LOVE the environment we work in. We are a certified Zero Carbon operation. Canyons are among the most pristine and unspoiled places you can find on earth and we want to keep them that way. Abel Tasman Canyons holds a concession with the Department of Conservation for all canyons. Part of the fees you are paying for a trip go straight to the Department of Conservation to help them protect the unique New Zealand environment. Canyoning is one of the lowest impact of all Abel Tasman activities. For more information have a look at our Sustainability page.

Do I need to be able to swim?

We can take non-swimmers but it is very important that you tell us when you book. The wetsuits make you float really well so as long as you are a happy floater you can come. High flow trips and certain advanced trips are not recommended for non-swimmers. We have an almost dry canyon where you’ll only get wet up to your waist. Please contact us to discuss the options.

What if I don’t want to jump or slide?

Jumps and slides are always optional. We want to work together with you to find out where your limits are. If a jump or slide is just that little bit too high or fast for you, then we’ll find you an easier option or we are also happy to let you abseil or lower you down instead.

Will I be scared?

Canyoning is one of the more challenging Abel Tasman activities so we hope you will be a little bit scared! Canyoning is all about the challenge, stepping out of your comfort zone. However, the guides are great at making you feel comfortable and they love helping you overcome your fears. They have different ways to make a trip easier or more challenging for you. If you got a little scared and still did it, you’ll end up with a big smile on your face which will stay for a long time! Not scared enough? Don’t worry, the guides are masters at recognising if you can handle more and will throw some extra options at you! The trick is to find the trip that is right for you, have a good look at our options and contact us to help you make your decision.

Will I be tired?

Quite possibly. All the physical activity, cold water and new impressions will drain your energy levels. Make sure you are well rested and have a big breakfast. We’ll provide a delicious lunch and snacks in the canyon to keep your energy levels up.

Do I need canyoning experience?

No. Even though canyoning is one of the more challenging Abel Tasman activities, you don’t need previous experience. You just have to be keen to try something new. On the more advanced trips it helps to have some climbing or abseiling experience. At the start of each trip you’ll receive a full safety briefing and an opportunity to practice abseiling outside the canyon.

How safe is it?

Canyoning has an element of risk, like many other adventure activities. Your safety on the trip is our highest priority. The guides at Abel Tasman Canyons are experienced, professional and highly qualified to run all activities. Guides in training are always under direct supervision of fully qualified guides. Upon meeting you in the morning the guides will talk you through a full risk disclosure. The risk disclosure will also be sent out to you in your confirmation email ahead of time. You can read it ahead of time here. You will get a full safety briefing before the trip starts and difficult tasks will be demonstrated to make sure you understand what we want you to do. The gear is of a high standard and subject to regular inspections. For more information on safety have a look at our Safety page.

Any age restrictions?

Torrent River and Blue Creek: 12 years. For Doom Creek: 14 years. For Falls River and Waterfall Creek: 16 years. (Under 16, conditions apply, please contact us for details). What about maximum age? Well, we certainly won’t stop you if you’re fit, healthy and keen on an adventure. The oldest man to go down Torrent River so far is 83, oldest female 75. Very good, but not unbeatable records…..

Which trip should I choose?

Have a look at the “TRIPS” page and the ratings for all the activities to see which trip suits you. Torrent River is our most popular trip as it is suitable for beginners and combines your experience with the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Blue Creek and Doom Creek are suitable for beginners too. Falls River is for intermediates and Waterfall Creek is our advanced remote canyoning experience. Can’t make up your mind because it all looks awesome? Just give us a call, we are happy to help you.

Do I need to book?

Yes. Trips are subject to having sufficient participant numbers and suitable weather conditions. So the sooner you book, the bigger the chance that we can organize an awesome canyoning experience for you during your stay in the area. During the summer season canyoning is one of the popular Abel Tasman activities. Book now!

Will I fit your wetsuit and safety equipment?

We have a wide range of wetsuit sizes, from 3XS to 3XL. Our harnesses are adjustable to a maximum waist size of 130cm. To be able to participate everyone will need to fit our equipment. If you have any doubts please let us know and we might ask you to visit us beforehand to try the equipment on. We advise that children who are close to the minimum age of 12 and are small for their age to visit us beforehand to try the equipment on.

What do I need to bring?

All you need to bring is a swim suit, a towel and a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. For the walk up to the canyons just wear shorts and a t-shirt and bring a warm top for the water taxi rides. Shoes should have closed toes and be reasonably sturdy as the terrain in and around the canyon can be slippery and uneven. Running shoes or light trekking boots are good, NO sandals, jandals, “fivefinger” shoes or wetsuit booties. We have a bin full of spare shoes for people who don’t have their own or if the guides think they are not suitable but please always bring some footwear in case we don’t have your size. If you require medication during the activities please bring sufficient supplies, your guide can keep it safe and dry for you. If you combine the trips in Abel Tasman National Park with walking or sea kayaking then you should also bring gear for that.

Can I wear my contact lenses or glasses?

Contact lenses are fine, make sure you bring a spare set. Glasses are not ideal but can be worn if they are attached with a strap and please bring a hard case. We can’t take responsibility for loss or damage to your glasses.

Can I bring my own camera?

For safety reasons we don’t want you to bring your camera. We’ll take photos and videos of everyone on the trip and share them with you at no additional cost. That’s right – FOR FREE!!!! That way you can fully enjoy your experience in the canyon and not worry about anything else. You are more than welcome to take your camera on the water taxi rides, it’s very scenic. We’ll store it in a safe place before we head towards the canyon.

Can you cater for special dietary requirements?

We sure can. When you make your booking either online or via phone please inform us of your special dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free….you name it) and we’ll make sure you are looked after.

What about medical conditions?

On our canyoning trips we go into remote places. We have robust emergency procedures in place but it remains a difficult place to evacuate from or to get external help in. Therefore it is very important that we know about any medical conditions that might affect anyone’s participation. When you make your booking please make sure you disclose any medical conditions that you or the people you book for might have. Please note: Existing medical conditions and/or special needs do not necessarily exclude participation. It is just really important that the guides know beforehand so they can help you manage it. Please contact us if you have any specific questions.

How do I access the free photos and videos?

After your canyoning trip we upload the full quality photos and videos on our dropbox account. Once that is done we will send you the link via email so you can download them on your computer. Every now and again we get a back log so please be patient. The link stays active for a few months so if you’re a long term traveler then forward the link to someone at home who can download the files for you.

Where can I leave my vehicle?

We can either pick you up from your accommodation or you can meet us at the Aqua Taxi base in Marahau for the Torrent River and Falls River trips. There is a big car park at the Aqua Taxi base which is also suitable for campervans, parking is for free. If you’re joining one of our overnight adventures in the Abel Tasman National Park then you’ll be allowed to leave you vehicle there overnight. It is not a secured car park, however we have never experienced any problems.

Where can I leave my valuables during the canyoning trip?

There is a safe place in Anchorage to leave your personal belongings during the Torrent River and Falls River canyoning trip. Alternatively, we can store small items in a safe at the Aqua Taxi base. For all other trips we recommend leaving your valuables at your accommodation as the vehicles in the car parks are the only place to store them.

How do I get to the meeting point?

We offer a free pick up and drop off service in Motueka, Riwaka, Kaiteriteri and Marahau in our van (limited space available). If you’re staying in Nelson we can arrange transport for you for $15 per person one way. If you do require a pick up just let us know when you book and we’ll let you know what time you need be ready to go. However, you can also choose to drive to the meeting point in your own vehicle. If you do Torrent River or Falls River you could then stay in Marahau to treat yourself at one of the restaurants.

How do we get to the canyons?

Torrent River and Falls River are accessed by walking, sea kayaking or taking the water taxi from Marahau. The standard option is to come with us on the water taxi from Marahau. However you can choose to meet us at the water taxi drop off points in the park if you decide to walk or sea kayak. The Torrent River trips starts from the beach at Anchorage and the Falls River trip from the beach at Torrent Bay. The walking distance from Marahau to Anchorage is 11.5 km and will take you about 3 hours. From Marahau to Torrent Bay is 12.5 km at low tide and will take you about 4 hours. Sea kayaking from Marahau to Anchorage or Torrent Bay takes between 3 and 3.5 hours. Click here for a map. Bear in mind that the canyoning trips require a fair amount of energy. If you walk or sea kayak in, we recommend to stay overnight in the park so you’re not having to do any other physical activity on the day of your canyoning trip. Make sure you book your accommodation in the park well in advance, the huts and campsites can be fully booked in the peak season. There are so many great Abel Tasman activities, we’ve got a range of combos so you don’t have to miss out!

All other trips are accessed by vehicle. You can either come with us in the van (limited space available) or drive in your own vehicle. The last few kilometres to each canyon are on gravel roads which are normally in a good enough condition for normal two wheel drive vehicles as long as they are not too low to the ground.

When can I go canyoning?

Our season runs from the 1st of October until the 30th of April. Feel free to contact us outside these months to see what we can do for you.

I had so much fun canyoning, where can I learn more about it?

We also run canyoning training courses at all levels through the New Zealand Canyoning school. Please have a look at the website for more information:

Canyoning new zealand