Jan & Lio

Summer 2014/15

Jan & Lio
Community Outdoor Nation Jan & Lio Sleeping God Awakened Canyoners

Sleeping God Awakened Canyoners


December 2014

  • You might think waterslides and crate day are the greatest things since sliced bread – and they are – unless you’re going canyoning the next day. Especially when you’re going canyoning with the awesome fellas from Canyonz.

    Wayne and Russell, the owners of Canyonz and the guides for the day, started this venture in 2012. They had been colleagues for quite a while in adventure tourism so they have heaps of experience and they know what adrenaline junkies want. Unlike other activities, this really is a full on experience and it was way better than expected.

    A bit grazed from the day before we met Wayne at 7 AM at the Hamilton information site from where he would give us a ride to the place of destination, Kauaeranga valley in the Coromandel. There we got our gear sorted: thermal, wetsuit, helmet (with or without GoPro mount, epic!), harness and grippy shoes.

    After we put all our gear in a bag, we started up the Billy Goat track, which flanks Atuatumoe (sleeping god canyon). It is quite a hike but if you want to descend, you’ve got to ascend first. It’s as simple as that. Obviously Wayne and Russ (the guides) are really fit, but they make sure the pace is comfortable for everyone. Throughout the hike they give you some history on the region and you can tell they’re really committed to this region.

    “The activity itself already is epic but the fact that you get to do it in one of the most beautiful places on earth makes it even more rewarding. The Coromandel truly is heaven on earth.”

    When we finally got up there we were eager to get going. We jumped in our suits, got our safety training and after a short karakia (Maori blessing) we soon found ourselves on the edge of our first waterfall. From there on it was just full on fun. The second abseil really put our skills to the test, as it was over 80 meters. Fortunately these guys really know their stuff. Even though your life is literally hanging from a thread, you never have the feeling it’s going to be your last abseil. Every time you descend they check your gear and one of them is always at the bottom holding your rope making sure you’re safe.

    The 300m descend consists of abseils, jumps, slides and flying foxes. So it doesn’t get boring at all. I really enjoyed the jumps, as they gradually get higher throughout the day. The highest one was 14m and that did make me hesitate a bit. Fortunately I didn’t get the notorious waewae crumble and made it safely into the water. In the end I was glad I did it though. It’s the kind of stuff you’ll regret afterwards according to Lio as she didn’t do the highest one.

    The activity itself already is epic but the fact that you get to do it in one of the most beautiful places on earth makes it even more rewarding. The Coromandel truly is heaven on earth. The kauri trees are dotted throughout the bush, which shows every shade of green imaginable. The water is as fresh and cool as it gets and the views on both the valley and the waterfalls are exquisite. A soundtrack of splashing water, singing birds and the wind whistling through the canyon tops it all off. Mother earth definitely is a DJ.

    Lio and I both really enjoyed our day with the Canyonz crew and even though it is kind of scary going over the edge, the feeling when you get to the bottom is sheer excitement. There were only six people in the party: Wayne and Russ, the guides; Nick and Steve, two nice dudes from Auckland and Australia; and Lio and I. The small group really adds to the experience. Going through the activity they also treat you as friends and they like you to do the same to them. They’re not your average distant guides that just want to get through the activity. Plus these guys really go all out to make the most out of your day. You have lunch halfway through the activity next to a waterfall. They take the pictures so you don’t have to worry about that. You get some history on the valley and the region and in the end there’s a genuine kiwi saussie sizzle while watching all your awesome pictures in a cool slideshow. If you drive back to Hamilton with Wayne and Russ you even might be so lucky to make an ice cream stop.

    I had been canyoning before in Spain but that was peanuts compared to this. Looking back this was definitely the coolest thing we’ve done so far!

    We recommend everyone to have a look at the Canyonz website, their Facebook page or give these fellas a call (0800 422 696). I’m sure you won’t regret it.