Picture a giant fun park waterslide for grownups, deep in a wilderness river gorge. Add torrents of rushing water and towering rock structures and you’re in canyoning territory.

Canyoning is the ultimate fun adventure sport, which challenges this vertical world with a hands-on approach that relies on skill and self-reliance. Under the watchful eye of an experienced guide you plunge into a semi-underground environment of eroded rock with water as your constant companion and your mode of travel.

Canyoning tours start out with a gentle walk through bush along a streambed. Soon the terrain becomes noticeably steeper and sheer walls impede progress. Out comes the abseil gear and you appreciate the value of a wetsuit, helmet, harness and boots as you descend into the abyss with the sound of thundering water rising to meet you. Then follow a steep, confined gorge, sliding down chutes and waterfalls, swimming across deep sumps, jumping off ledges into plunge pools, abseiling into deep chasms and generally having a wet, wild and wonderful time. It’s a real thrill to explore this untouched environment and have a huge amount of fun in the process.

At present there are only a few places in New Zealand where Canyoning is commercially available but is bound to become more popular. Auckland has a demanding journey through, over and under numerous waterfalls in the Waitakere Ranges. Wanaka has a deep canyoning experience including a 30 metre abseil down a waterfall known as ‘The Gurgler’. Christchurch has a gnarly gorge and waterfall trip that gives thrill seekers the ultimate rush.

If you’re hungry for adventure garnished with maximum fun and you can climb, swim, slide, float and jump, then this is for you.