Serene to exhilarating. Always magical. Moments of reverence. A myriad of evocative words attempt to explain canyoning. Put simply, canyoning reveals rarely seen jewels of the mountains - be it sparkling waterfalls, shaded rock carpeted to the sky with lush green ferns, the inky blackness of cool, still waters ... the list goes on.
Canyoning is a highly popular seasonal activity in the Club. It is an activity that draws together all the skills of bushwalking, rock climbing, mountaineering and even caving. You descend creeks and waterfalls, scramble over boulders, often swim or float past spectacular scenery. It will thrill and excite all your senses. You may not always be comfortable - you might be cold, wet and tired, but it will inspire and enthral, you will tell your friends with glee about your adventures into the beating heart of the mountains.
Canyoning at any level can be challenging. Whatever your age, experience and fitness, there will be canyons to suit you ranging from lazily floating along on a lilo to those fit, experienced and aching to test skills and stamina against the more technical and imposing canyons. For all, you will need good general fitness and agility. Scrambling over wet and slimy boulders is usual; swims are also common. You will need to be team-oriented - no-one canyons alone; a wonderful team bonding, mutually supportive group effort makes canyoning a delight.
Most canyons are off the beaten track. This is part of their charm. You may walk in on an obvious fire trail or walking track - more likely you will have to scramble and even bush-bash; navigation varies from easy to very tricky.
Canyons can take a morning/afternoon, a leisurely to a highly strenuous, sustained 12 hour day. Overnight trips are common, particularly in locations such as the Blue Mountains. Campsites chosen may be basic. Facilities will range from the maintained toilet/water/cooking shelters provided by the National Park to complete facility-free wilderness.
What goes down must come up again ... eventually. Walking out of a canyon is part of the experience - it may be picturesque over a gradual incline or, more usually, a sustained steep slog up a gully. You will emerge tired but grinning at the end of a memorable day!
Show me the canyons! There are gems within a couple of hours of Canberra - Tuross and Bungonia Gorge are favourites. Canyoning paradise is the Blue Mountains, Kanangra and Wollemi where there are a smorgasbord of canyons to delight all levels of experience.