Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day 7: Canyoning in Glenorchy

I woke up slightly dazed after a late night out. The previous morning, we'd done a tandem bungy jump, and in the evening watched a local band perform at Altitude. The combination of alternative rock and country square dancing in the same set was a strange quirk that we put down to the diverse audience.

I hauled myself out of bed and contemplated what we'd signed up for. Four to five hours of wilderness fun, promised the brochure. Climbing cliffs, sliding down waterfalls, and jumping into icy pools. Although I'd previously been all gung-ho to go canyoning, in the cold morning light that prospect seemed somewhat less appealing than it did the night before. Did I mention that I'm afraid of diving into dark rocky pools?

Our guide drove us from Queenstown to Glenorchy. We were a motley crew of four, all first-timers: a visiting American hopping over from her business trip to Australia, a Kiwi Experience driver, John, and me. We signed the requisite waivers releasing Twelve Mile Canyoning from any responsibility in case we, oh, fell off a cliff or something.

signing a waiver
We pulled on our full-body wet suits, padded vests, helmets, and life-jackets. By the time I was fully dressed I looked like a neoprene version of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Hiking around Mount Aspiring National Park in a padded wet suit is no joke!

I have no pictures of us canyoning, for obvious reasons. Our camera is neither waterproof nor shockproof, although we were ready to submit ourselves to conditions our camera would never survive. Suffice it to say that a few hours and several waterfall jumps later, we were tired but happy. A plunge into ice-cold fresh water is one heck of a way to wake up.

Jump off a rocky outcropping into a freezing pool? Bring it on.

Information and Contact Details for Twelve Mile Delta Canyoning
Canyoning all over the world
  • "I started my abseil with a slip and ended up hanging upside down" - Clare and Dan, at Empress Canyon
  • "35 metres of insanity!" - Sarah and Dave, in Ecuador
  • "The excitement of the jump trumps the coldness many times over" - Spark, off Piha

Mount Aspiring National ParkRead the previous entry or check out the rest of this New Zealand trip series.

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