AWOL Canyoning Adventures
Then, force my comfort-fed form through the eyelet of a cave (that tiny sliver you call an opening), and, finally, tell me it was a blast.
Surely, there is no way any sane person would do those things; never mind pay for the privilege. Yet, I did just that; handing over $125 for a half-day canyoning experience with AWOL Canyoning Adventures.
The trip starts at the Glenesk Road reserve in Piha. Changing into wetsuits, we waddled up dirt tracks in our bright blue body sheaths until we reached the top of Kitekite Falls.
Standing on the waterfall’s crown, we were fully briefed on the art of abseiling and kitted out in safety paraphernalia.
The harness, I don’t mind telling you, felt like a nappy. A full one at that (how I know for sure what that really feels like, I can’t tell you, but nevertheless, I now have complete empathy for the toddlers of this world).
An Auckland Regional Parks licensed operator, the company’s been operating in the Waitakere Ranges without incident since 1998 and though the guide touted over ten years of outdoor experience, but I was still nervous.
I thought I’d be ‘the one’ who’d creep pathetically over the side of the waterfall and, half way down, start whimpering for help.
I made little amateurish jumps. I scrambled around a bit and swung randomly off-centre fairly often, but, it actually wasn’t that bad; certainly not terrifying—it was a bit of a buzz pitching backwards with the intent of reaching the bottom.
The trip followed the stream’s path down through the bush back to the Glenesk reserve. We threw ourselves (without the nappy this time) over small gushing waterfalls into deep green pools.
Over rocks, into caverns, the group weaved its way to the bottom of the canyon, emerging at our starting point a few hours later.
I’d done it and I was stoked! I wanted to trek back to the city and tell all and sundry that they were miserable couch potatoes that needed to get a life and try this lark.
Not a bad trip at all really. What had I been freaking out about in the first place? Dangling over a 90m high waterfall is a thrill—any sane person should try it.