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Sorrel abseils down a waterfall.
Sorrel abseils down a waterfall.
Swimming in the rockpools.
Sorrel takes the plunge.

Family Canyoning

Thursday, June 29, 2000
The word "canyoning" usually conjures up visions of a tough wilderness adventure but, as Sorrel finds out, 12 Mile Delta canyoning is a family-friendly version.

12 Mile Creek is about 15 minutes from Queenstown, and is suitable for the moderately fit. It begins with a gentle 10-minute climb into the canyon, and then you will be decked out in full wetsuit, helmet, booties, gloves, lifejacket and harnesses. All you need to take along is a towel, swimmers and supply of water.

The course is only 400 metres, but takes about two hours, and that's because you will be plunging into rock pools, cascading down chutes, abseiling down waterfalls and swimming through rocky passageways.

They allow you time to experience most of the waterfalls, slides and rock cliffs a couple of times, so each part of the canyon can be done in different ways.

The highest drop from a rock cliff to a pool is 22 metres, which you can abseil or jump, and the longest waterfall slide is 10 metres. Each drop has a rope set up alongside it in case you decide not to be daring, and want a bit of help.

All up, the tour takes about 3 and a half hours: two in the canyon, the 15-minute drive from Queenstown, a 10-minute walk into and out of the canyon, and safety checks and demonstrations. At the end of the trip there's a sausage sizzle.

The creek is fed by Lake Isobel, which is on the south side of Mount Crichton. It continues to the delta and drains into Lake Wakatipu. The centuries-old canyon is hidden under native beech forest, and from the air is barely visible.

Location

Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island.

Cost

Canyoning costs about $95 per adult and $75 per child, including equipment, hotel transfers and a barbecue. Trips run from October to the end of April.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission.

More information

Tourism New Zealand
(02) 9582 5777
Website: www.purenz.com
Qantas: 13 13 13

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