Frequently Asked Questions
If you are unsure about aspect of our trips – give us a call, so that we can better explain the details to you.
Covid 19 Level two
For all our safety we have set up the following processes as per the adventure activity guidelines
- Social distancing of 1 m at all times unless critical to other safety requirements of our operation. We would prefer to meet our clients at Piha although we will have some capacity to transport clients
- Group sizes will be less than 10 people including guides
- Vulnerable people will respectfully not be able to canyon while in level 2
- People displaying flu symptoms cannot attend trips in level 2
- All gear will be rinsed in sterigene after each trip
- Sanitiser, tissues, wipes and gloves will be available if/when required
- Common surfaces will be wiped where possible
Piha or Blue Canyon, which is more adventurous?
Our most asked question! The reality is that you cannot go wrong with either option.
Both canyons set the scene for an amazing day out. There are certain differences that we have tried to highlight on their webpages – to check out those pages, visit Piha and Blue.
In general Piha
Has bigger abseils, narrow gorges, jumps and a cave. You also have the opportunity to check out Piha beach after the trip. It’s got good access, so there is less walking involved, and only a five minute walk out at the end. Average fitness required.
In general Blue
Has great abseils, bigger jumps, and more of them, and a natural hydro slides. You need to have a good level of fitness as it’s more remote and there is more walking involved (40mins each way).
Do you run all your trips, every day, all year round?
No, but we are happy to run whichever trip clients are wanting, however they will only run once minimum numbers have been reached (4pax). During the Summer season, trips go out most days. Give us a call or email us, if you want to know which trips are scheduled on the day/s you are looking at. With the Piha Canyon having good access we are able to run trips all year round.
The Blue Canyon only operates between 1st September and 30th April.
How to book?
The BOOK NOW button on each of our page is the fastest and easiest way to book.
Vouchers can also be purchased on the home page of our website.
Or call us, we are happy to take your booking over the phone.
All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars and includes GST.
Can I pay for our trip by cash?
Yes, you will need to call or email AWOL Adventures directly. We will ask for credit details to hold your booking – your card will not be charged. On the day you can pay by cash before departing on the trip. Only if you do not show up on the day, will your credit card be charged – please see our cancellation policy, for further details.
We recommend you bring a little spare cash in case you choose to buy photos/food/coffees as credit card facilities are limited in Piha.
What do we need to bring with us?
A bathing suit or similar, to wear under your wetsuit, sporty footwear (running shoes or trekking boots) and socks – they will get wet! We do have some spare shoes available. You will also require a towel, sunscreen and warm clothes for after.
Please also remember to bring medication you may require e.g. asthma inhalers, epi pens etc.
Cash for coffees/photos/food or for paying for your trip!
Unnecessary valuables eg – large cameras, expensive jewellery, passports. Leave these locked up in your hotel/at home. All that you do bring will be locked up in our gear for the duration of your trip.
What about food?
We supply juice/water and chocolate on all trips. We also supply a light lunch (bakery filled roll) on our full day trips. We are limited by space because we have to carry everything into the canyons.
We recommend you have a hearty breakfast beforehand and bring snacks for before and after your trip – as lunch is often quite late (around 1 pm). Our gear shed is located beside the Piha General Store which serves great coffee and has a large variety of food/drink options.
Vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free can be catered for on request.
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 one of our Piha trips. If you decide to meet in Piha, please meet us at the Piha General store – 23 Seaview Road, Piha. The meeting time in Piha is one hour later than the departure time from Auckland – please call to confirm your meeting time if you are at all unsure.
If you are going to the Blue canyon, the best meeting point is in Auckland central but there are other options – you will need to call to arrange.
Where is the meeting point in Auckland?
We pick up from the concierge booth located outside the main entrance to the Skycity Hotel. The Skycity Hotel is situated at the base of the Sky Tower(corner of Federal and Victoria Streets, Auckland city). Try to be there at least a few minutes before the departure time. Parking in the city can be hard to find and expensive. Alternatively you can meet us out west at the Te Atatu South Countdown supermarket (corner of Edmonton and Te Atatu Roads) – parking there is free, please let us know if this is more convenient for you.
Photos are $20 per person. You will receive only your individual photos plus any group shots that you are in. We aim to take a minimum of 6 photos per set (however, often there will be more – 10 photos on average).
Following the trip a link will be emailed to you, from there you will be able to select and download your photos. Please check your junk email before asking us to resend the link. Otherwise contact us and we can try resending to an alternative email address.
We only store the photos for one month, from the trip departure date. Photos are generally sent the same or following day.
Note: Photos are taken by your guide/s and not a professional photographer. Cameras overheat in wetsuits, water gets 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 the decision to purchase, as not all the photos will be perfect!
You are welcome to bring your own waterproof camera or GoPro (at your own risk). If you do bring your camera your guide will explain to you the safe times to use it (it is important that your photography does not compromise the safety of the trip).
What if it rains?
You’ll get wet! We operate in most weather conditions as the canyon has a narrow rain-catchment area, and easy access out of the canyon, in the event that we need to cancel mid-trip (very rare). In rainy conditions we will often go to the canyon and access the local weather and make a decision from there. However when extreme conditions are being forecasted or the canyon is still being effected by previous or current rainfall, we reserve the right to cancel a trip at any point before the day, on the day or during the actual trip to ensure your safety.
Should I do the Piha full day or half day trip?
The full day trip is better value for money as you get almost twice as much canyoning time (about 3 hours compared to 1.5 hours on the half day), plus you also get a light lunch. But some good reasons to only do the half day include: being short on time, wanting to give it a try but don’t want do do any really big abseils or you are a mixed group with varying abilities and/or fitness levels.
How cold is it?
Most of the time the full length wetsuits we supply will keep you perfectly comfortable. But for a couple of months over mid-winter (June and July) the canyon is cold and only for the brave hearted! Most of the time canyoning is the perfect activity to do on colder/wetter days as you are fully suited in a wetsuit and will be jumping into water anyway!
The Blue canyon only operates from 1st September – 30th April, 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 a 35min walk in a wetsuit to get to the canyon. While in the canyon you will be walking in a stream and abseiling (repelling) over very slippery rocks – so you need to be at least moderately fit and agile. If you or the guide thinks this trip is too much for you on the day, there are options for you to do less (ie – join in from the half way point, go around jumps/cave).
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/down hill hiking involved to get to and from the canyon (about 45min each way), there is also more time spent walking over slippery rocks, than in any of our other trips. There are 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 physical activity and are ready to partake in all that this canyon has to offer! Good levels of fitness required.
What are the minimum/maximum ages and weight requirements?
Participants must be 12 years old to do the Piha full day and the Blue canyon trips and 10 years old to do the Piha half day and night trips. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Minimum weight is 35kg, maximum weight is 120kg. However please bear in mind that if you are not fit, walking to and from the canyon and over the slippery rock terrain will be difficult and may impact on the fun you have on the day. A fit 120kg person will easily complete one of our trips, but an unfit 120kg person will struggle. Please carefully assess whether this is the correct activity for you.
Is canyoning safe?
In general jumps and slides are considered to be the main contributing factors to injuries within the canyoning industry. Although in our 20 years of operating we have only had a few minor jump related injuries. Navigating over slippery rocks have caused the majority of incidents in our canyons, therefore you need to be aware and willing to partake knowing that slippery rocks are a integral part of canyoning.
In extreme conditions, canyons can flood and in this situation we will have either cancelled the trip prior to departure or will vacate the canyon immediately on noting any change to the environment. The types of canyons we operate in have small catchments and have accessible exits throughout the canyon reducing the risk of flooding interfering with our trips.
Changing facilities – but no showers
Both the Piha and Blue canyons have changing rooms, but no showers. After spending all day in freshwater you will find showering to not be so important (even though it would be nice). On prior arrangement and with some advance notice we may be able to arrange hot showers for you after the Piha Canyon trip using the local camp ground facilities. For groups going directly out afterwards or for those heading straight to the airport, let us know at the time of the booking and we will see what we can arrange.
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 have a clear understanding of how crucial it is to meet the ships all aboard time. Please advise us if you are coming off a cruise ship, so we can ensure the trip you have booked will be back in time. We can also arrange for you to be picked up/dropped back to your ship. If our departure/return doesn’t fit in with the cruise ships turn around time, give us a call and we may be able to adjust our times to suit.
Although the timing of our trips allows for a margin of error, in exceptional circumstances it is possible we could be delayed. In that instance we do not guarantee that you will be returned to the ship on time and we will not be liable to cover any additional costs associated by your late return. I should add that this has never happened in our 20 years operating the business.
We’d love to hear your feedback, so if you have any comments, recommendations or complaints relating to our operations including health and safety, please contact us directly.