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canyoning new zealand

New Zealand’s South Island is a massive frontier in the realm of exploration and natural beauty as well.  The Great Soutthern Alps rival those that they are named after, rising violently from the surrounding landscapes to impressive peaks and pinnacles; it is no mystery why New Zealand is highly regarded as one of the biggest bucket list vacation destinations in the world.  The landscape is big and dramatic, the mountains tall and snow capped, and the creeks run clear, deep and cold.  From a canyoning perspective, the routes are a legendary combination of hydraulics and deviations, dangerous waterfalls and perilous pools.  The level of technicality is pushed up several notches simply by the sheer aquatic nature of the chasms.  They are often deep and dark.  Beta is limited at best.  Anchors are not always present.  Jumps are commonplace.  Some of the gnarliest yet beautiful routes to be had anywhere.  And the best part: a majority of the island remains untouched and unexplored, with most of the true gems still unseen by the human eye.

Ore Creek

With an A6 rating, Ore Creek is a big step up in difficulty than many of the other Haast Canyons.  It shares similar route characteristics as its comrades; a relatively short approach followed by a few hours in the creek itself.  For those not familiar with the approach or without prior information, it can be

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Wilson Creek

I would consider this canyon one of the best routes in New Zealand simply for its immensity and sheer beauty.  It is extremely deep, narrow, and under high water conditions can prove to be challenging.  The drops and abseils are not particularly challenging, which contributes to its relatively low technical rating.  The approach on this

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Imp Grotto Creek

The work to fun ratio on this one is particularly high.  A short and fairly easy 20 minute climb grants you access to a deep and narrow slot canyon that really pack a punch.  Though it is probably the shortest route in the Haast, it is one of the better ones.  Featuring two big abseils,

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Cross Creek

Cross Creek is the neighbor of Robinson, yet is completely different in technical difficulty and the character of the rock.  Unlike Robinson Creek, Cross never really gets very deep and remains shallow except for a short section in the upper narrows.  The biggest drop is the first one which weighs in around 25 meters.  After

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Robinson Creek

There are few places in the world that can manage to silence and put in awe such a seasoned adventurer.  Robinson Creek, however, is one of those such locations.  However short, the narrows of Robinson Creek are some of the best in the world.  It features about 6 drops or so, including the infamous drop

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Pigeon Shit Canyon

If not for the name, you would probably think this was a nice and short route down a typical slot canyon with some nice water flow.  Well, don’t let the name fool you, that is exactly what it is.  This canyon gets its name from a small section where quite a few birds have chosen

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Queenstown Canyon

This is a great route just outside the city of Queenstown and is short but quite nice.  It flanks the great Lake Wakatipu and the trailhead grants you a great view of both the lake itself and the nearby Remarkable Mountain Range.  It is commercially operated by canyoning.co.nz and can see high traffic during the

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Kaumira Canyon

I really like this route.  Kaumira Canyon is not a traditional, true slot canyon, but is more defined as a narrow gorge and remarkably resembles the routes you will find in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California.  It flows strong as you join its waters,  rushing its way through a beautiful and exciting gorge

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Glentui Canyon

This is a pretty short but solid route that can easily be done as a 3 hour tour outside the town of Rangiora and about an hour or two drive from Christchurch.  It has a short section of narrows that lasts for maybe 50 meters, and features two abseils and a nice jump.  There is

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