The top 12 questions we get asked
1. What is canyoning?
Canyoning is a lot of different fun activities all rolled into one. You SWIM through the pools in anticipation for what the next horizon line has install. Could it be a JUMP off a waterfall? Maybe there’s an ABSEIL/RAPPEL next to the waterfall or canyon sidewall…or in the waterfalls flow itself!
We SLIDE down smooth water worn rock faces or ZIPLINE through the air then free fall into the deep green pools below. Drag yourself out of the water then SCRAMBLE over and among the rocks and boulders to the next waterfall announced by the trickling running stream just before it cascades into the spray and mist below. Come and experience nature’s water park ride.
2. Are the jumps, slides, abseiling optional?
Yes, if you really don’t want to do any of the elements once you are in the canyon we can provide alternative options. Afraid of heights or afraid of water? Canyoning has activities that involve being at height and being in the water. Please talk to us BEFORE YOU BOOK a tour or course if you have any concerns.
3. Which tour or course should I do?
We have many AWESOME tours and courses for you to consider.
Tui and Kaumira are suited for beginners to intermediate, Woolshed, Sharplin are intermediate to advanced, Trifalls and the Three Fellas are advanced. Have a look at our Tours page or please contact us directly and we will help you choose — 0800 BIG ROCK.
If you want to go on your own adventures or become a guide, we can help you every step of the way!
4. Is canyoning safe?
As with any adventure sport, canyoning involves an element of risk. At Big Rock Canyons our guides pride themselves on being highly professional, experienced and qualified plus we use the highest quality safety equipment to control the risk element to provide you with a safe and positive canyoning experience. We give everyone a safety brief before entering the canyon and there is always an alternative option at each activity during a tour.
5. Do I need experience?
Our beginner and intermediate canyons can be enjoyed by first time canyoners. Training outside the canyon will be given prior to going into the water. The first waterfalls are ideally small enough for participants to practice and fine-tune abseiling/rappelling, sliding and jumping techniques to ensure the right comfort levels for the bigger drops. All waterfalls can be passively navigated where the guide can lower participants who feel over challenged by the rush of the water around them.
For those with canyoning or abseiling experience, we can provide special options within some of the tours that allow for harder routes and world class canyoning and river rescue training to safely go on your own adventures!
6. Do I need to be able to swim?
Our canyons are low volume, they have very slow current and on all of our tours, you’ll be going under water a lot! To deal with this, we provide a full body wetsuit with a buoyancy vest which helps you to float. We have had many non-swimmers and they’ve had a great time. Please TELL US WHEN YOU BOOK if you have any concerns around this!
7. Do I need to book in advance for a canyon tour?
Space can be limited, particularly in peak season so we highly recommend booking in advance. If you are a large group, be sure to have a one or two dates in mind when booking! Bookings are not confirmed until you have paid in full.
8. What do I need to bring?
A towel and swimwear (worn under your clothes) is all you require. Footwear is provided from size range 5-12 (38-47). So if you are outside this range bring your own (e.g. running shoes). Big Rock Canyons provide all of the necessary equipment, which is included in the price of the tour.
Your canyon guide will have a Go Pro and will post tour photos or videos on the Big Rock Canyons facebook. Like our facebook page to get notified when they are up.
Snacks and beverage during and after the Canyon trip is included. You will need to advise us during booking of any dietary preferences.
9. Can I wear my glasses or contact lenses?
If you require your glasses to see while walking in a canyon you need to have a sport strap to hold them on. Contact lenses are better but remember to put in a backup set. Let your guide know before departure. We can’t guarantee the safety of your glasses so if you can do without them then all the better.
10. What about transport to the canyon?
We provide a pick up and drop off service to Geraldine and Christchurch and can meet you at your accommodation. Refer to the specific canyon for details when you are booking. If you have your own vehicle and would prefer to drive to the canyon; please let us know when you book and we will organise a meeting time and place.
11. What about Risk Management
All of our equipment has been designed and built specifically for swimming, jumping and floating in rivers and canyons. We work with local manufacturers to construct rugged gear built to last and fit for purpose. Where we can’t find the gear we need locally we work with our international distributors to import good quality equipment.
If you need advice or help with sourcing the best equipment available anywhere in the world, please contact us!
Big Rock Canyons has been audited and approved by AdventureMark, as required by the Safety Audit Standard for Adventure Activities 2017
Big Rock Adventures Ltd is an approved Department of Conservation concessionaire for their canyoning operation. Big Rock has six canyons we are able to descend.
Big Rock Canyons is a company member and qualified by NZOIA (the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association) and we actively participate in setting guiding standards in New Zealand.
Many of our guides also work in the Swiss Alps and are licenced with:
12. Booking terms and conditions?
Assumption of Risk
Canyoning is an outdoor adventure activity with a degree of risk and is inherently dangerous. River rescue training and learning to canyon in our commercial canyons and river sections carry the same inherent and sometimes unknown risks.
Participants should be aware that Big Rock Adventures Ltd is unable to guarantee your safety.
Canyoning and river rescue training requires a reasonable level of physical fitness and agility.
You must inform us of pre-existing medical conditions, injuries and fears before the trip.
Participants are required to sign a waiver and release prior to participation on any canyoning tour or course and all river rafting tours, courses and river rescue related training courses including acknowledging awareness that some known risks are associated with the trip.
Please note that age limits are set around safety and everyone having a fun and pleasant time. Happy canyoners are warm canyoners and very small sized participants (children) can get very cold.
Under 16 year olds must be accompanied by an adult (18 years+).
Suitable ages for Tui canyon is 11-12 years and above.
Suitable ages for Kaumira canyon is 13-14 years and above.
You must fit our gear size range 2XS to 3XL.
Alcohol and drug free
Canyoning participants needs to be sober and straight.
You must pay in full in advance of canyoning, canyoning courses and river rafting tours and river rescue training.
Cancellations by the participant made within 1 day (24 hours) of booking arrival date incur a 100% cancellation fee.
Cancellations made with more than 1 day (25 hours or greater) notice incur an administration charge of 30% of total booking fee.
For cancellations by the organiser before the start of the activity the participant will receive a 100% refund.
If the participant discontinues or leaves the activity before it is over, there is no refund.
The participants are not insured by us the organiser. Participants should have their own insurance.
You agree to follow the instructions of the organiser, the canyon/raft guide or assistants.
Photos and video
You agree that any photos and video footage taken prior to, during and following canyoning remains the sole property of the organiser and may be used for any purpose the organiser requires.