Festival

Oxford, Canterbury, NZ

Friday 7 to Sunday 9 February 2020

Festival info

Where: Oxford, Canterbury, New Zealand 

Date: 7-9 February 2020

Price: $80

Limit: 80 people

Registration: Opening in November 2019.

Join the NZCA: You need to be a member to attend the festival, so why not join now. When you signup we can send you Festival updates.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A FESTIVAL REGISTRATION

Festival format

Every two years (from 2016) the NZ Canyoning Association runs a canyoning festival to supports its mission to:

  • Protect our Canyons
  • Raise the awareness of our Canyoners
  • Grow the sport of Canyoning in New Zealand safely

The Festival format is a combination of workshops on the Friday only and trips taking place on the Saturday and Sunday.

The Friday workshop day will focus on critical aspects of improving recreational canyoner safety, e.g., how to safely undertake a jumping session as a group. Once the facilitators and programme are lined up, you can sign up to these on a first in basis.

On Saturday and Sunday, there will be several trips going to accessible canyons. You won’t be able to sign up for these in advance so turn up at around 7 pm the night before and arrange your trip with fellow festival-goers. You can check out the canyons you might want to do on the information website once you register.

For the safety and enjoyment of all, we want to help you choose the right canyon for your skills, ability, and equipment and ensure there is a right mix of local knowledge of New Zealand canyoning conditions in each trip.

Local and international canyoners welcome.

Get in touch with us at festival@nzcanyoningassociation.org

Note:

  • This festival is for competent canyoners. If you are starting out looking to learn how to go canyoning the festival is not the place to start. 
  • There are no intro canyoning skills – please contact the Festival Partners for some training opportunities before the festival, especially if you are not familiar with New Zealand Aquatic canyoning.
  • See FAQs below “What skills and fitness do I need?”.

Programme

Pre-Festival Activities

Thursday 6 Feb 2020

  • 9 am-6 pm: Canyon SAREX. Invite only. It is an official activity of LandSAR NZ, in conjunction with the NZ Canyoning Association and the Christchurch Alpine Cliff Rescue team.
  • See FAQs “Canyon SAREX” below for more info.

Official festival activities

Friday 7 Feb 2020

  • Workshops from 8 am TBC (workshops not finalised until shortly before the festival)
  • 7 pm onwards: Get together at the Oxford Town Hall and Community Centre. Organise your trip for the following day. BYO drinks and food.
  • 8 pm Official welcome by the NZCA. Briefing for all festival participants @ Festival HQ.
  • 9 pm: Canyon safety briefing @ Festival HQ.

Saturday 8 Feb 2020

  • 6 am-9 am (start) – 6 pm: Canyoning trips (as organised the night before)
  • 7 pm onwards: Evening function at Festival HQ. Organise your trip for the following day. BYO drinks and food.
  • 8 pm Presentations.
  • 9 pm: Canyon safety briefing @ Festival HQ.

Sunday 9 Feb 2020

  • 6 am-9 am (start) – 6 pm: Canyoning trips (as organised the night before)
  • Finish – see you next time.

Festival Partners

Pete has introduced a lot of canyoning equipment to New Zealand’s market place. Making the first free-draining bags, while creating a high-quality no-nonsense brand suitable for canyoners across NZ, he is an active canyoner and imports Kordas rope, AV harnesses, Raumer hangers etc. directly from the manufacturer’s.

Is the go-to store for specialist canyoning equipment out of Europe. They have a massive range of stock and can get pretty much anything in, plus they ship internationally at good prices.

Local manufacturers of quality canyon gear. Importers of just about anything else we can’t build. All NZCA members receive special club pricing. Get in touch with Darren and Shane to buy direct from the factory/importers and save.
Festival Offer: Free 20l Aspiring Dry Bag to every festival participant. Offer can only be redeemed in-store.

Our canyoning adventures take place in three stunning parks: the famous Abel Tasman National Park, the wild and remote Kahurangi National Park and the more accessible Mount Richmond Forest Park. Abel Tasman Canyons offers guided trips through 5 different canyons. Each canyon has its own unique features. Some have more jumps, some have more abseils and some require more fitness.

We’re a South Island-based canyoning training provider, offering courses for recreational and professional canyoners at all levels.

We are a team of skilled, qualified and experienced canyoning guides and instructors. Our combined canyoning adventures have taken us to Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Montenegro, South Africa, Canada, Japan, Nepal, Indonesia, Australia and of course New Zealand. Along the way, we have gained qualifications from the leading canyoning qualification organisations: NZOIA, ICOpro and CIC.

Contact us for pre-festival training opportunities.

With more than 25 years guiding and instructional experience worldwide, you’re in safe hands!

Waterfalls and white water, the love of sharing our special world. We have the ability to not only guide but teach the fundamentals of canyoning on every tour. We love to help our guests push personal comfort zones while having a fantastic and fun time!

Contact us for pre-festival training opportunities.

North Island guided canyoning trips through some of the most beautiful landscape New Zealand has to offer.

Not just the best canyoning trip in New Zealand, but the best ‘true adventure’ experience in the country! The Canyonz expertise and enthusiasm for outdoor adventure they will guarantee your experience is positively mind-blowing.

We provide customised rescue solutions to organisations in New Zealand and Australia.

We find out what you need first and then working with you, develop a solution.

The process includes problem identification & scoping, programme development & design, procedures development, materials testing, technical publications and course piloting & delivery.

We are proud to work with LandSAR NZ and the NZ Canyoning Association with the development of the Canyon Rescue 1 course.

Each issue, Wilderness chronicles the New Zealand outdoors in all its forms. The magazine struck a chord with both readers and advertisers from its very first issue, with some readers and advertisers from way back then still with Wilderness today. It’s been a fascinating journey as tramping, hiking and exploring the great New Zealand outdoors has grown to be the third most popular past time in New Zealand. 

The PURE Sports Nutrition range is proudly produced in New Zealand and has been designed with sports science in mind.  Our brand stands for high quality, natural products that work, containing no artificial ingredients or colours.  The range has grown to provide high-quality products before, during and after your workouts.

Radix is a leader in applied nutrition. Products are designed with the aim of improving health and performance across a range of nutritional requirements, specific protocols, and dietary allergies. Radix products are used in all spheres of life, from elite athletes at the Olympic level to healthcare practitioners and individuals looking to improve their health.

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Venue and  location

Festival HQ will be at the Oxford Town Hall.

Facilities available at Festival HQ include a large auditorium with a stage, kitchen facilities, and a movie theatre.

From the Festival HQ, a short drive to the closest canyons at  Glentui and Ryde Falls Canyons (20 mins) and 1.5 hours drive to both  Mount Somers and the Arthurs Pass alpine canyons. It is 2-3 hours drive to canyons on the West Coast.

Getting to Oxford, Canterbury

Christchurch is the closest domestic and international airport. We recommend that you hire a car for the duration of your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a minimum, you need a basic level of skills, fitness and equipment to be able to look after yourself in an aquatic canyon all-day. Walk-ins to start your day can be from 10 minutes to 3 hours.

Check out the article on Kiwi Canyons about the equipment and skills you need.

Kiwi Canyons – Canyoning FAQ

There is a range of levels of canyon trips you can choose to join. The Canterbury plains canyons (in normal flow) tend to be easier with shorter walk-ins. Arthurs Pass tend to be harder with longer walk-ins. So you and others have a good day out be conservative of your ability until you get a gauge.

The festival is designed around people having the skills to look after themselves in the canyon and bring the right gear. If you are just starting out looking to learn how to go canyoning the festival is not the place to start.

You are expected to participate in the canyon rigging and group decision making on a trip.

Several quality canyons have been opened in the Arthurs Pass region over the last few summers, ranging from V3A2 through to V4A4. 

There have also been some impressive canyons opened in the Wilberforce valley. 

There are now over 20 canyons spread throughout the Arthurs Pass, Mount Somers and Oxford regions to explore. 

Some of the best canyons on the West Coast, for example, Griffin Creek are only about 2 hours away from Canyon HQ. 

The Geraldine region boasts the excellent Kaumira Canyon, plus nearby are Andrews Stream and TeMoana Gorge – both training and jumping spots. 

A detailed Festival canyon information website highlighting all of the Canterbury Canyons will be released closer to the festival date and provided to canyoners on registration. This site gives canyon topos, maps, tips and everything you need to enjoy a great day out canyoning in Canterbury!

Held in the Oxford Community Town Hall and Conference Centre, we will host an evening function on Friday, and Saturday from 7 pm.

There will NOT be any food or drink made available, so please bring your drinks (alcoholic beverages are allowed) and either eat beforehand or bring takeaways.

There will be spot prizes drawn from the list of all registered participants. There will be a raffle ($2 tickets, sold from the bar) for a significant prize pool of canyoning items.

Many of our festival partners will be present at the evening function, with services and products to see and buy. These great people and companies as they make these events possible, and support upgrades of our canyons throughout NZ.

We have hired the adjoining Oxford Movie Theatre and will be screening canyoning movies Friday or Saturday night.

Medical

The closest health centre is in Oxford at the Oxford Community Health Centre (03 312 41953). This centre provides 24-hour medical care. Emergency medical care from Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department, which is 51 minutes drive away.

All participants must be willing to disclose any medical conditions and injuries before activities away from town. Anyone with conditions or injuries that cannot be effectively self-managed will unfortunately not be able to participate in those activities.

Safety and Rescue

There is a volunteer Search and Rescue Team based in Canterbury, with some canyon SAR capability. Even with a personal locator beacon, helicopter rescue may be many hours away or even the following day. All participants need to be prepared to spend the night in the canyon if there were an accident.

Groups need to carry: a suitable means of communication usually a PLB or Inreach, survival shelters, extra thermal layers, headlamps, food, medical supplies (appropriate to the canyon they are descending).

A detailed Safety Management Plan, including an Incident Response Plan, has been prepared for the festival. All participants need to read and follow the instructions in these plans.

  • Safety Management Plan: NZCA SMP V2 2018 (not an active link at the moment)
  • Incident Response Plan: Incident Response Plan v1.0 2018 (example from the 2018 festival not an active link)

Phone coverage

There is no mobile phone coverage in any Arthurs Pass canyons although there is limited coverage on the tracks close to the village. Mount Somers/Oxford canyons have some coverage near the carparks but none available inside the canyons. Teams need to be self-sufficient with rescue and survival gear and carry emergency communication devices.

Team check-in and check out

A designated person in each group will be responsible for communicating to Festival HQ the list of canyoners in their group for the days trip (using the Official NZCA Activity Sheet) and reporting back into HQ immediately when their group has safely exited the canyon. 

Each group must carry the Official NZCA Activity Sheet at all times detailing SOP and emergency procedures with numbers and contact details for check-in and check out.

 

Official NZCA Activity Sheet V1.1

To make this event a success, we need considerable support from volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact

We need volunteers for:

  • Preparing canyons in the week leading up to the festival
  • Technical workshop facilitators
  • Set up and clean up at the Festival HQ
  • Presentations at the evening function
  • Organising competitions
  • General assistance with things that may crop up during the event

If you are an experienced canyoner, please consider coming to the area for a few days before the festival as this will give you a chance to familiarise yourself with the local canyons.

NOTE: Any volunteers for technical roles must have a current first aid certificate and be competent to facilitate and operate in the canyon environment.

Get in touch if you want to volunteer: festival@nzcanyoningassociation.org

LandSAR NZ is pleased to partner with the NZ Canyoning Association and the Christchurch Alpine Cliff Rescue team immediately before the festival.

The main activity is on Thursday, 6 February, in Canterbury.

The Canyon SAREX is intended primarily for existing members of CanyonSAR teams throughout NZ to network, practise canyon specific SAR techniques gained from recent workshops and implement incident management. Dependant on interest, location and capacity, non-SAR team members who have skills and experience to offer may be able to participate or observe.

As such, participation in the SAREX is by invite only. If you have previous canyoning SAR experience and wish to attend, please email us.

Send all inquiries about the SAREX should to sar@nzcanyoningassociation.org