FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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!




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.




Is canyoning safe? What are the risks involved?


As with any adventure sport, canyoning involves a number of inherent risks. We will be in a remote and difficult to access environment with cold water, surrounded by potentially changeable weather conditions, slippery surfaces while at heights and the chances of us falling or even things falling on us. At Big Rock Adventures our guides pride themselves on being highly professional and therefore know our limits. We are 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 with a logical progression of technical training before entering the canyon.




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!




Do I need to be able to swim?


Our canyons have low volume with slow currents. Saying that, 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!




What do I need to bring?


All technical equipment is provided from head to toe. You should dress for the day’s forecasted weather and wear your swimsuit under your dry clothes. Bring;

  • Towel and dry change for afterwards.
  • Water bottle.
  • Medications (we have bees and wasps in the surrounding forest).
  • Special dietary/food snacks.
Your canyon guide will have a Go Pro and will post tour photos or videos on the Big Rock Adventures facebook, so Like our facebook page to get notified when they are up.




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.




What about transport to the canyon?


All of our canyons are self drive. Pick up and drop off service to Geraldine, Christchurch and anywhere within reason are available upon request. Please refer to the specific Canyon Tours for details when you are booking.




Can I come alone? Do I need to book in advance for a canyon tour?


Travelling alone? We run with a minimum of x2 full paying guests, so please contact us in advance so we can co-ordinate to a day that is already going. 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 one or two dates in mind when booking! Bookings are not confirmed until you have paid in full.




What about Risk Management?


EQUIPMENT 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! SAFETY PLAN Big Rock Adventures Ltd has been audited and approved by AdventureMark, as required by the Safety Audit Standard for Adventure Activities - March 2017 CONCESSIONAIRE 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 in the DoC estate. QUALIFICATIONS Big Rock Adventures Ltd is affiliated with NZRA (NZ Rivers Association for Professional Guides), NZOIA (the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association) and we actively participate in setting guiding standards in New Zealand for rafting, river rescue and canyoning.




What if I need to cancel?


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. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further details




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, Mount Somers-Trifalls is advanced. Have a look at our Canyoning Tours or please contact us directly and we will help you choose. If you want to go on your own adventures or become a guide, we can help you every step of the way!




Are we closed during winter?


Yes. Our summer season 2019/2020 starts again on October 20th, 2019 until March 31st 2020.





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