The Abel Tasman National Park: well known for its magnificent beaches, native bush, and enchanting coves, its beauty attracting thousands of visitors to the region each year. But what do you do when you want to go off the beaten track and experience a more adventurous side of the park? You go canyoning!
The day started early, but the morning saw my excitement build as we made our way into the park on a water taxi and hiked towards the beginning of the canyon. On our way up the guides told us some amazing stories about the native bush and the history of the National Park.
I listened out for the sounds of cascading water, telling me that we were getting closer, and before I knew it we had made it to Torrent River. The canyon stood vast and magnificent. Rocks decorated the centre, vivid green moss lined the edges. This was the entrance to our next adventure. Whilst we ate our lunch, I watched as the water cascaded over rocks, pooling in calm pockets below. But as we slid our bodies into our wetsuits my nerves were anything but calm.
We grouped together, put our helmets on, and had a safety briefing. The guides told us what was to come over the next three to four hours. Then off we went. One by one we dropped into the water, and waited as we felt the water seep through our wetsuits. It was cold enough to make the men squeal like the women, but it was also refreshing after our hike up the hill. The real fun was about to begin.
The first feature was an abseil, and the group cheered one another on as we overcame our first set of nerves. We took it in turns to slowly step our way down the first rock face, familiarising ourselves with the ropes and the harnesses and learning how to safely lower ourselves into the water below. The vibe was great. Beforehand I had been worried that I was going to hold the group back, but everyone was in there as a team and it was amazing to feel like we were all working together.
I felt the adrenaline kick in and I was desperate to press on and see what else the canyon had in store for me. Each feature had its own unique twist: a zipline, a surprise drop, a hidden waterfall. By the time the eight metre jump came around I was more than ready to take it on. Off the edge we all went. Nothing throughout the entire trip compared to the look on everyone’s faces after the eight metre jump; smiles from ear to ear, beaming with their own individual successes.
As we approached Taniwha Slide I could feel the adrenaline pulsing through my body, and I knew everyone else in my group could feel it too. I lay down at the top of the slide and screamed as my body left the edge of the rock, feeling momentarily weightless in the air, before plummeting down into the depths of below. My head broke through the water and I drew in a breath of air. Only one word came to mind: epic!
With each passing challenge I began to feel invincible, as if I could overcome anything and jump off of everything. The guides had brought out the inner superhero in me. High-fives all round and smiles galore as we ventured back into Anchorage to take the water taxi to Marahau. I took the back seat and relaxed. As the sea breeze dried off my hair I reflected on the beauty of the canyon and all its exciting features, what a spectacular day!
Unleash your inner superhero and book your own epic Abel Tasman Canyons adventure with your Stray driver today!