Access to the canyons may fall into one of three catagories;

Open access, which is free for all,

Permission required access accross private land, and

Closed access, where access is expressly prohibited by a private land owner or by management plan on public land.

Canyoners, have a responsibility to follow any rules and regulations, seek the appropriate permission or respect any closed areas. By doing so, we help to ensure that the access we do have is preserved for everyone.

Any access information provided through is done so in good faith, however, it is the legal responsibility of the individual who intends to go canyoning to confirm the access conditions.


Open Access

Most of the Canyons included here are on public conservation land, with open access for all. Make sure you follow the NZ environmental care code from the Department of Conservation Website.

The NZ Walking Access Commission has an excellent website that details the rights and responsibilities of all those who access our lands by foot. In particular, they have the Walking Access Code, which is a detailed booklet on the matter.

Sometimes access to and from public conservation areas is over paper roads, or other legal rights of way. It is up to the individual to ensure they research where they are and are not allowed to go before approaching such canyons. Always have a check on WAMS before considering a trip.


Permission required access

There are some Canyons either accessed through private land, or are totally on private land. However, until land owners are contacted and are happy for canyoners to ask for permission, full details about those canyons will not be posted on this site. Some potential or beta-less canyons on or near private land may feature here, but only as a historical record of descents. It always remains the responsibility of the canyoner to research the access situation and gain the appropriate permission required.

The NZ Walking Access Mapping system (WAMS) is an excellent starting point to find out where public lands are. Often there are small slivers of public land, or unformed legal roads that can be quite handy for access, avoiding the need to cross private land. WAMS is occasionally subject to errors, and updates due to the tenure review process. Also, many farmers do not agree with the land boundaries depicted by WAMS or by the council. The best bet is always to ask for permission, as you might be the one having to deal with an irate farmer. Quoting WAMS and paper roads is probably unlikely to calm the situation down….


Closed access

Currently, the only known area where canyoning is expressly prohibited is Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges. The Auckland Council management plan defines canyoning as a ‘discretionary activity’. Such activities are only allowed to those holding a permit. As off track walking is ‘actively discouraged’ and ‘Absieling is only permitted’ at one fixed platform in the park, permits are not being to be issued to recreational canyoners.

In particular, the Auckland Council has began to issue hefty fines to Canyoners in the Glen Esk Canyon in Piha. Anyone Canyoning there is committing an offence under the ‘Auckland Regional Council Parks Bylaw 2007 ‘

The best tactic is simply to go canyoning in another area away from the Waitakere’s, or to join a guided trip with AWOL adventures  who hold permits for the area.