Canyoning in the Blue Mountains
Canyoning is a combination of bushwalking, swimming, abseiling, li-loing, caving and rock climbing. It involves following a watercourse wherever it goes, particularly into dark and narrow chasms, and as a result can be a dangerous activity, particularly if water levels start rising rapidly. However, it propels participants into some of the most beautiful terrain in the Blue Mountains – deep, smoothsided canyons that only receive direct light for an hour or so each day, freezing, swirling streams abundant in yabbies and native fish, fern-covered valley floors, and waterfalls spilling out into the sunlight from dark caverns.
There is a wide variety of canyoning in the region – some courses that barely wet your toes and others that are relaxing floats along rivers, while at the more extreme level, some involve difficult multi-pitch abseils down thundering waterfalls. Because of the dangerous nature of this sport, the real potential for hypothermia and the difficulty of navigating, you are strongly advised to start with a guide (see details below) or an experienced canyoner.
One of the most pleasant days out for inexperienced canyoners is li-loing down the Wollangambe River near Mount Wilson. It involves a little bit of rock-hopping and a steep walk out at the end of the day, but is a great introduction to the sport. More experienced canyoners head for stunning canyons with dark and difficult abseils or squeezes, including Hole in the Wall and the Claustral. If you are tackling one of the popular canyons, go on a weekday to prevent having to wait for a large group (dangerous in the freezing conditions).
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