Blue Mountains canyoning – our guide to this adventure sport

Located a little under two hours west of Sydney is some of Australia’s best canyoning locations. Carved from millions of years of erosion of the sandstone plateau that makes up the Blue Mountains and its surrounding national parks, these world renowned and spectacular systems of can canyons provide you with the opportunity to explore and put to use an assortment of skills including abseiling, swimming and wading. Blue Mountains canyoning is certainly worth exploring!

Canyoning is a favourite pastime with adventurers, backpackers and anyone seeking to start a new outdoor adventure sport, but it should be noted that caution is needed. Like all outdoor activities there is an element of risk with canyoning, and without the correct training or support you can soon find yourself in trouble and needing help from the emergency services. Do not go canyoning without the proper guidance.

We strongly recommend that if you are considering canyoning as a pastime, that you undertake some abseiling training, be of reasonable physical fitness and perhaps join a guided tour first, where you will pick up valuable training, and experience canyoning with the safety of having professional guides with you.

When is the best time to go canyoning in the Blue Mountains?

Blue Mountains canyoning generally takes place in the warmer months from October to April each year. Wet canyons are simply too cold in the winter months as the average temperature in the upper mountains is around 5°C. There are dry canyons in the Blue Mountains that are accessible in winter. Juggler Canyon is a suitable dry canyon for the winter months.

Fitness levels needed for canyoning

Your canyoning experience may involve some abseiling, swimming and scrambling over rocks. As canyons are always at the bottom of a valley, you’ll also have to consider a long walk out of the canyon after you’ve finished. And that is a walk, usually in the vertical direction so it can be a hard walk for those not used to bushwalking.

Abseiling into a canyon in the Blue Mountains.

You know your own fitness level the best so if you feel comfortable with these requirements, then you can certainly try canyoning. It should also be pointed out that not all canyons require abseiling, and there are even some dry canyons which are ideal in winter time.

The more popular Blue Mountains canyoning trips

There are quite a few canyons in the Blue Mountains where tour guides run regular canyoning trips to. Below is a list of the more popular Blue Mountain canyons with links to tours that you can join.

Empress Canyon

The Empress Canyon is perhaps the most popular of all the canyoning experiences in the Blue Mountains. This canyon has it all… scrambling, jumping, wading and swimming through pools, culminating in an abseil down Empress waterfall. It’s also considered a beginners or entry level canyon, which helps to make it so popular. The day finishes with an hour long walk out of the canyon, uphill of course. The Empress Canyoning experience is part of our summer Abseiling and Canyoning tour.

Sheep Dip and Rocky Creek Canyon

The Sheep Dip and Rocky Creek Canyon are two canyons in one trip and is suitable for families as there is no abseiling involved. Sheep Dip canyon involves water slides, water jumps and rock scrambling. When you reach the end of this wet canyon it’s just a short walk to Rocky Creek, perhaps one of the most impressive slot canyons seen in the Blue Mountains. A slot canyon is narrow at the top, deep and beautiful. The end of this canyon is a 60 minute bushwalk through cool rainforest sections finishing with a final uphill section.

Wollangambe Canyon

The Wollongambe canyon is again, a no abseil canyon so it’s suitable for beginners. This too is suitable for all ages but you’ll need to be a good swimmer. The Wollangambe canyon has towering sandstone cliffs and, with slow moving water, a great way to experience this canyon on inflatable lilos. Still regarded as a wilderness adventure, this canyon requires a good fitness level.

Note, a picnic lunch on the Wollangambe beach is a bonus!

Juggler Canyon – Winter Canyoning

Juggler Canyon is ideal for winter trips as it’s a dry canyon. Abseiling skills are required for this canyon as there are numerous abseils to undertake, so if you were to join a Juggler Canyon tour, the first half of the day is spent teaching you abseiling. The walk out from this canyon also includes a section of the Grand Canyon trek, a beautiful scenic walk.

Blue Mountains canyoning
Blue Mountains Canyoning – wet canyons are seasonal.

Joining a group canyoning experience may not be what you are looking for in a canyoning trip. There are options to undertake private canyoning trips in the Blue Mountains where the guides will tailor your day with your skill levels, give you private abseil training if needed and take you to some of the mountains best canyons.

An alternative to joining a tour guide is to sign up to your local bushwalking club. Many clubs offer other activities such as climbing, abseiling and canyoning. You may not immediately join a canyoning trip with your club, but a lot can be said for joining a group of like-minded people regularly. Camaraderie and group knowledge can go along way to advancing your adventure sports knowledge.


Images © ASMGuides.

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