The canyons

Download the festival Info Pack.

Or view it online here. It contains detailed topos for most of the new canyons in the Top of the South. Together with the Canyoning in NZ guide book it provides you the information you need to canyon in the Top of the South.

You can also explore the canyons through this map.

The festival is a chance to discover a new, high quality canyoning area

Until very recently St Arnaud/Nelson Lakes has not really been on the NZ canyoning map, with only a handful of canyons mentioned in the Canyoning in NZ guide book.

In the summer of 2016/2017 a number of high quality canyons were opened, ranging from V3A2 through to V6A4. There are now over 20 canyons in the Top of the South, spread across the Nelson Lakes, Abel Tasman, Mt Owen, and Richmond Range areas to explore.

It is likely that festival attendees will be able to descend canyons that have only seen a handful of trips previously.

Most of the canyons are comfortably within 2 hours drive of each other, although some require boat access. In addition, some of the best canyons on the West Coast are only a few hours away.

Lots of canyoning variety in the Top of the South

There is a large variety of canyons, including:

  • Fairly open, sunny, granite canyons in the Abel Tasman and near Tadmor
  • Enclosed, committing greywacke canyons in Nelson Lakes, more akin to those in the Haast Pass region
  • Deep (and sometimes dry!) limestone/marble canyons near Mt Owen

Most, but not all, involve some white water at around A3.

Most of the canyons that will be part of official festival trips will be relatively easy to access. The furtherest will require walking for ~3km on formed tracks and a few hundred of meters of climbing through native bush. Wasps can be a serious concern in the Nelson Lakes National Park. It is up to you to bring appropriate medication if you are (or may be) allergic.


A taste of Top of the South canyons