New Zealand

Grab Your Carabiners, Here’s Where To Find New Zealand’s Best Canyoning Spots

By Dasha Koryagina

A girl hanging over a deep canyon

If you’re on constant lookout for new adventure and enjoy a healthy dose of adrenaline in your bloodstream, then canyoning is a must. 

Combining all sorts of extreme activities, from ziplining and abseiling to diving and swimming, canyoning’s not for the faint-hearted. It takes you to the most jaw-dropping locations, opening views from remote vantage points, and pitting you into exhilarating battle against the elements.

Home to wild nature, breath-taking views and full of skilled guides, New Zealand offers some of the best canyoning adventures in the world. Explore extreme rivers, waterfalls and rock formations of Aotearoa as you dominate the landscape. Nothing will make you feel more alive.

Abel Tasman CanyonsNelson 

Known as the sunniest city in the country and famous for golden sand beaches, Nelson is one stunner of a place. Three major canyoning areas lie close to the city, offering a variety of tours, views and difficulty levels. Choose from infamous Abel Tasman National Park, secluded Kahurangi National Park or the more accessible Mount Richmond Forest Park. Abel Tasman Canyons run guided tours through five different canyons across the three areas. Some experiences have more jumps and abseils than others, and some require a high level of fitness. However, even the most inexperienced will find a suitable tour.

Deep CanyonWanaka

A Wanaka canyoning adventure will take you from raw, surging waterfalls to tranquil forest pools. With four canyons in Wanaka and five in Haast Pass, there’s endless beauty to be discovered. Entrust yourself to the experience of Deep Canyon and you’re in for an unforgettable experience of sliding down water polished chutes, abseiling through waterfalls and jumping off cliffs into crystal clear, alpine pools. 

Canyon ExplorersQueenstown

Set out on a canyoning adventure in Queenstown and get lost in the jaw-dropping landscapes which featured heavily in both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Walk the roads previously travelled by dwarves and elves and find yourself in places otherwise inaccessible. Canyon Explorers offers a range of tour options, including a half-day offer for those looking for a little taste of the experience. 

Piha Canyon, Auckland 

Set in the picturesque hills behind the beach, Piha canyon is a steep-sided volcanic valley with thundering waterfalls cascading down towards the ocean. Swim in natural rock pools, descend a narrow slot canyon, jump, slide, and abseil over the majestic Kitekite falls. AWOL Canyoning will happily guide you through, ensuring both your safety and enjoyment. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, AWOL also offer a night canyoning experience through Piha, illuminated only by a headlamp and glow worms glittering on the walls. 

CanyoNZSleeping God Canyon, Thames

Located in the dramatic Kauaeranga Valley on the Coromandel Peninsula, Sleeping God Canyon is a challenge sure to thrill even the most weathered of canyoners. Run by CanyoNZ, the tour features a vertical descent more than 300 metres down a steep set of waterfalls with 80 metre abseils, water slides and jumps into dark pools from up to 14 metres high.


Home to some of the world’s best surf and to a great canyoning adventure, Raglan is every adrenaline junkie’s dream. Book a trip with Raglan Rock and you’ll find yourself on one exhilarating adventure. Covered by native bush, Mt Karioi canyon follows a fresh water stream. Here, you’ll find yourself abseiling cascading waterfalls and jump over volcanic boulders and into deep pools.

Got the bug? Here's some stunning New Zealand lakes to visit at least once. 

Image credit: CanyoNZ, Abel Tasman Canyons, Deep Canyon, Canyon Explorers, CanyoNZ 

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.