Makarora Festival

Wonderland Lodge, Makarora

Friday 1 March to Monday 4 March

Registrations are on temporary hold

The festival is limited to 100 participants. 

We are nearly at our limit, and have put registrations on hold to allow existing members and SAREX participants the chance to register.

If we have any more space for new members,  we’ll advertise it here soon.

What do I get for my money?

Membership to NZCA

NZCA membership is $50 per person, and expires after two summer seasons.  Why join? Because only members of NZCA can register for the festival!

See the ‘join NZCA‘ page for more details on what membership includes, why you have to be a member to attend our events, and where that money goes. 

Festival registration

Festival registration is $60 per person, and is only to cover the cost to the association for putting on the event. These costs include:

  • a seriously good buffet dinner on Saturday night 
  • venue hire
  • didymo cleaning gear
  • stationary (eg, for trip sign out sheets, safety plans ect) and other minor miscellaneous costs

Not included in Festival registration

Accomodation, food (other than Saturday night) and transport.  These are your own responsibility to arrange.

Refund policy

NZCA is a volunteer run, not for profit incorporated society. The refund policy is to reduce the burden on our volunteers, and ensure the NZCA is not out of pocket.

Any refunds made will be less any fees charged to us by our Stripe payment gateway,. 

Festival Registration.

  • Within 2 weeks of the event, refunds will only be given for the portions of the registration fee we haven’t spent yet. Ie, the buffet catering cost will likely be withheld. 
  • Within 48hrs of the event, cancellations for any reason (by the member, by the venue, by NZCA, by force majuere) no refunds for the festival registration will be given.  

Membership fees 

These may be refunded on a case by case basis, on the sole discretion of the NZCA. Any such refunds would be minus any processing fees (charged by the Stripe payment gateway)

The Canyons

Makarora is just minutes south of the most famous canyoning area in NZ, the Haast Pass. Checkout for all the info on local classics.

The closest canyon is Ore Stream v4a5III*** (4 minutes)  and  Imp Grotto v4a3I*** is the fartherest at 32 minutes.


Safety Documents​

Festival Format

Every two years (from 2016) the NZ Canyoning Association runs a canyoning festival to support 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 socialising in the evenings, workshops and self organised canyoning trips.  

Stay tuned as we add more info! 


  • This festival is for competent canyoners, who can look after themsevles in white-water aquatic canyons.
  • 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 Canyon guiding and training companies for some training opportunities before the festival, especially if you are not familiar with New Zealand Aquatic canyoning.

Pre-festival training courses

If you’re looking to brush up on your skills, several canyon guiding companies have indicated they can put on training immediately prior to the festival.

NZCA is not affiliated with any of these companies; all were given the chance to feature thier courses here, and are listed in alphabetical order. 

Big Rock Adventures

Canyoning New Zealand

  • Based in Queenstown, course locations in Haast Pass or Queenstown.
  • Contact us to enquire about one of the courses from our selection.


Deep Canyon

New Zealand Canyoning School 


Pre-Festival Activities

Friday 1 March 2024

  • 7 am-6 pm: National Canyon SAREX. Invite only. It is an official activity of LandSAR NZ, in conjunction with the NZ Canyoning Association. See the National Canyon SAREX page for more information. 

Official festival activities

Friday 1 March 2024

  • Evening: Meet and greet at Festival HQ : Wonderland Makarora.

Saturday 2 March 2024

  • Day TBC
  • Evening: Exclusive social event at Festival HQ with catered meal (included in festival registration)

Sunday 3 March 2024

  • Day TBC

Monday 4 March 2024

  • Day TBC
  • Afternoon, return home. 

Venue and accomodation


The Festival social events and breifings will be held at Wonderland Lodge, Makarora

Located just minutes down the road from the most famous Canyoning area in New Zealand, the Haast Pass. 

Accommodation @ Wonderland Lodge

It is your responsibilty to arrange your own accomodation.

For bookings until 31 December 2023.

  • We have negotiated with the venue to block out the accomodation during the festival dates until 31 December 2023.
  • To get accomodation, you will need to book directly with the venue.
  • Remember to tell them you are with the Canyoning Festival!
  • There are a variety of cabins and dorms available.


From 1st Jan 2024, 

Wonderland will open bookings to the public…  

What is available and what does it cost?

(Prices correct as at September 2023)

  • Studio chalet : sleeps 1 or couple $150  (queen bed)
  • 2 room studio chalet: $180 sleeps 5 (queen 3 singles)
  • winged chalet: $170 sleeps 4 (queen 2 singles)
  • Superior room: $130 sleeps 1 or couple (king bed)
  • Superior 2 room: $180 sleeps 5 (king bed 3 singles)

(all the above units contain private bathroom and some form of cooking facilities eg toaster, kettle etc) 

  • Cabin $90 sleeps 3 (double, 2 singles) 
  • Economy cabin $80 sleeps 4 (singles)
  • Private economy Cabin sleeps 5 ( queen, 3 singles)
  • Camping $20 for Non power site $40 for power site   $50 for Campers with more than 2 people. 

Accommodation nearby

There are other accommodation options nearby,  from luxurious to DOC campgrounds. All of these book out early for the summer season, so if you want to do your own thing, book now!

Cameron Flat DOC Campsite  (4 minute drive from the venue)

Frequently Asked Questions

Nah… Just save the date, and chat to people who’ve been to a festival before.  We’ll put up information as soon as it is available.