Frequently Asked Questions
If you are unsure about anything regarding our trips – please call us, so that we can better explain any part of our trip in detail.
Piha or Blue Canyon, which is more adventurous?
The big question! The reality is that you cannot go wrong. Both canyons are really amazing days out. There are certain differences that we have tried to explain in the webpages and photos relevant to each canyon. But since both canyons contain most elements of canyoning, looking through our pictures might help you decide or may make the decision harder! For some people thinking about fitness might play a part, the Blue canyon is more of a walk to and from the canyon (see below).
Some days its a matter of reaching minimum numbers to run a particular trip. So therefore the choice is based more around the trip we may have available on any given day.
In general though:
- The Piha Canyon is big abseils, narrow gorges, and a chance to see Piha beach after the trip.
- The Blue Canyon is lots of jumps and some great slides.
- Both canyons have jumps and abseils – see the pictures.
How to book?
The book now buttons on each website page is the fastest and easiest way to book. Vouchers can also be brought on the home page of our website.
Otherwise please call and we are happy to assist with the booking.
All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars and includes GST.
Can we pay for our trip by cash?
Yes, call or email AWOL adventures directly. AWOL will ask for credit details to hold the booking only. On the day you can pay by cash before departing on the trip. We recommend you bring a little spare cash for possibly buying photos from AWOL or for buying food etc. As credit card facilities are limited at Piha.
What do we have to bring with us on the trip?
You will need:
- sporty footwear (running shoes or trekking boots) and socks – they will get wet! We do have some spare shoes available for smaller trips (on request)
- something to wear under your wetsuit (swimsuit or shorts etc.) – also will get wet
- medication if needed e.g. asthma inhalers, epi pens etc – you must bring it if you need it
- Cash if you want to buy our photos $20 per person, or are paying cash for the trip on the day
- Some spare cash for coffees, second breakfast etc!
- lots of valuables – please leave these behind. Although we do have a gear shed that is locked while we are canyoning it is advisable not to bring unnecessary valuables – big cameras, expensive items etc.
What about food?
We supply juice or water and chocolate on all trips. On our full day trips we supply a light lunch (filled roll from the bakery). We are limited by space on what we carry to the canyons, so the food and refreshments are based on what the average person will need to feel comfortable while out on a trip with us. We recommend a good hearty breakfast and also bringing snacks for before and after our trips – as lunch is often quite late (around 1 pm). In Piha there is a great store with lots of options for food and drinks including amazing coffee to stock up before and after the trip!
Do you have to do all the abseils, jumps, slides, caves etc.?
Most abseils and all jumps are optional. Often there are ways to get around obstacles or the guides will give you easier options if you require it. You don’t have to go through any caves.
Can we meet you in Piha?
Yes, if you are doing the Piha Trip. If you decide you would prefer to self drive to Piha i.e. you want to stay longer at the beach or are staying overnight. Then we will meet you at the Piha General store – 23 Seaview Road, Piha. The meeting time in Piha is one hour later than the departure time from Auckland. If you are doing the Blue canyon trip the best meeting point is in Auckland central but there are other options – please call to arrange.
Where is the meeting point in Auckland?
We will pick you up from the sky tower hotel entrance. This is located on the corner of federal and Victoria Street. A very easy to find location – just look for the sky tower! Try to be there at least a few minutes before the departure time. Parking in the city can be hard to find or expensive – please allow time to park away from the CBD and walk to the sky tower. If you prefer to meet us along the way we have another meeting point in Te Atatu South at the Te Atatu south Countdown supermarket (corner of Edmonton Rd and Te Atatu Road) – parking there is free, please let us know if you would rather meet us there.
Photos are $20 per person. You receive only your individual photos plus any group shots you are in.
We aim to have a minimum of 6 photos per set (however, often there will be more – 10 pics on average).
A link is emailed to you. From there you will be able to select and download your photos.
Please check your junk email before asking for them to be resent. Otherwise contact us and we can try an alternative email address. We hold the photos for one months after the trip date before deleting.
Photos are generally sent the same or following day.
Note: Photos are taken by your guide/s and not a professional photographer. Cameras over heat in wetsuits, water on the lens, dark areas like caves, sun strike off the water can make photography in the canyon very challenging. Please be aware of this when making your decision to purchase as not all photos will be perfect.
You are welcome to bring your own waterproof camera or Go pro (at your own risk). If you do bring your camera your guide will explain to you the safe times to use it (its important the photography doesn’t interfere with safety on the trip).
What if it rains?
We operate in most weather conditions as the canyon has a small rain catchment area and easy access out of the canyon in the event that the trip needs to be cancelled. If we have rainy conditions we often we will go to the canyon and access how the local weather is and make a decision from there. However due to extreme conditions being forecasted or the canyon being effected by previous or current rainfall the canyoning can be cancelled at any point before the day, on the day or during the actual trip to ensure safety.
Should I do the Piha full day or half day trip?
The full day trip is value for money as for the additional cost you are getting almost twice as much canyoning time (about 3 hours compared to 1.5 hours on the half day). But good reasons to do the half day might be that you are short on time, want to try canyoning but don’t want the full on big abseils or have a very mixed group with some not so adventurous or less fit people joining you.
How cold is it?
Most of the time the full length wetsuits will keep you perfectly comfortable. But for a couple of months over mid winter (June and July) the canyoning is cold and only for the brave hearted! Most of the time canyoning is the perfect activity for colder wetter days as we are fully suited in wetsuits and will be jumping into water anyway! We close the Blue canyon from May 1st to August 31st due to this canyon being more aquatic (you are fully submersed in the water from the very first jump).
How fit do I have to be for the Piha full day canyon trip?
This trip involves walking in wetsuits for 35 min to get to the canyon. While in the canyon walking and abseiling (repelling) over very slippery rocks – so you need to be at least moderately fit and agile. But also lots of options here to do more or less canyoning as you feel is suitable for your desired level of adventure. So if on the day you or the guide make the decision to do less canyoning or walking up hills this is possible.
How fit do I have to be for the Piha half day and night canyon trip?
Less walking to the canyon than the full day trip and less abseiling but still walking and abseiling (repelling) over very slippery rocks. You should feel confident that you can walk up hills in wetsuits and navigate through slippery streams and over rocks. Have a look at the photos and if you have any questions – contact us and maybe we can help you decide!
How fit do I have to be for the Blue canyon trip?
This trip has more up hill and down hill hiking to and from the canyon (about 45min each way), there is also more time spent walking on slippery rocks while in the canyon than any of our other canyon trips. The trip has less options to take the ‘easy way out’ half way down the canyon. So you want to be confident that you’re up for a good day of activity and ready to partake in all the canyon has to offer for this one! Good levels of fitness required.
What are the minimum/maximum ages and weight requirements?
Minimum age for the full day Piha canyon is 12. Minimum age for the half day Piha canyon and night trip is 10.
Minimum weight is 35 kg, maximum weight is 120 kg. However bear in mind that if you are not fit walking to and from the canyon and over the slippery rocks in the canyon will be difficult and may impact the fun to be had on the day. Fit people at 120 kg will easily complete the trip, but unfit at 120 kg will be a struggle and you should carefully assess if this is the correct activity for you.
Is canyoning safe?
In general jumps and slides are considered as the main contributing factors to injuries within the canyoning industry. Although in our 16 years of operating we have only had a few minor jump related injuries. However people navigating their way over slippery rocks has also caused the majority of incidents therefore we recommend that clients are aware and willing to partake knowing that slippery rocks are a part of canyoning. In extreme conditions canyons can flood and in this situation we will either have cancelled the trip prior to departure or will vacate the canyon immediately that there is a concern about flooding. The types of canyon we operate in are small catchment and have easy exits from the canyon therefore making them very safe from this risk.
Changing facilities – but no showers.
Both the Piha Canyon and Blue canyon have changing rooms. After spending all day in the freshwater stream you will find showering to be not so important (even though it would be nice). On prior arrangement and some advance notice we may be able to arrange hot showers for you after the Piha Canyon trip at the local camping ground facilities. So for groups going directly to a restaurant or people flying out of the country please let us know at the time of the booking if you require this and if we can see if we are able to arrange it.
For your own safety we cannot take you on a canyoning trip if you are under the influence of alcohol. After the trip go wild 🙂
We have worked in collaboration with various cruise ships for 20 years and therefore have a clear understanding of how crucial it is to meet the ships all aboard time. We have set up these trips to fit the time frame including a margin of error, how ever in exceptional circumstances it is possible we could be delayed. In that instance we do not guarantee that you will be returned to the boat on time. We will also not be liable to cover any additional costs associated by a late return. I should add that this has never happened in our 20 years operating the business.
We’d love to here your feedback, so if you have any comments, recommendations or complaints relating to our operations including health and safety, feel free to get in touch below.