I had the privilege of heading out to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains yesterday. The Blue Mountains is a beautiful location just outside of Sydney, and easily accessible by train or car.
Dan and I drove up to experience the Abseiling and Canyoning package with High and Wild Adventures. The package included a morning of abseiling, followed by lunch and then an afternoon of canyoning.
High and Wild Adventures is an Australian company based in the YHA at Katoomba. They have a range of fun activities from bush walking and survival skills, to rock climbing, abseiling and canyoning; activities that Dan and I both love to do.
Why High and Wild?
For adrenaline junkies that are in need of their next big hit, heading out to the Blue Mountains is one of the best places to experience insane adventures.
The weather in Sydney is generally warmer than many places I have done water-based sports, so for those that almost freeze their puddings off (whatever your puddings may be!) then Sydney (or Australia as a whole) is a great place to head to for adventures.
The scenery in the Blue Mountains is magnificent. Wading through the water, surrounded by trees and big green leaves, you can almost imagine yourself in the Amazon. It's truly a tropical experience.
The experience tells a story too. Our guides certainly knew their stuff. They were highly skilled in the art of abseiling and both brilliant instructors, but they were also both aware of the local landscape. We got to try wild berries and even edible leaves en-route.
In terms of abseiling, you're taught what to do, and get to try your skills out on a 5 metre high rock before heading to higher mountains. You're certainly eased into it and navigated through the experience before being let loose.
I've been canyoning before, and, for me, heights are not a problem, but I do get cautious when it comes to coordinating a jump. My fear stems from hitting a rock while jumping, but the encouragement you receive means you feel like you can conquer anything.
Abseiling to Empress Falls
We started our day early. We drove up to Katoomba for the 8.45 am start. Lots of coffee was needed, but you could camp or stay locally in any one of the hostels or hotels. I've stayed at the YHA and The Carrington and both are great places.
Once there, we filled out some forms, were given a briefing, and received our attire for the day. Each person is given a backpack that includes thermals, socks and a wetsuit. You're also given a helmet and harness too.
Dan and I went with a group of others. Having a crowd meant it was even more fun. Our group was great and everyone enjoyed themselves.
We started with the abseiling and did three jumps, starting from a beginner through to large drop. My favourite was the last and biggest jump, in which Dan decided to race me down.
Once abseiling was over, we were given our lunch. Pre orders of lunch are taken prior. The tasty sandwiches are very filling, but that energy is needed for the canyoning, so eat up!
Once done, we headed over to Empress Falls, changing into our thermals and wetsuit. Having a change of clothing is a must. I left mine at the YHA, but it's advisable to take it in your dry bag.
The canyoning was both so much fun and freezing for me. Although, I had expected it to be far colder so was prepared. Once you're in and the initial shock wanes, you feel great.
I felt this canyon would suit any ability. The rock jumps were doable and the pace was fast enough to make it excitable and an adventure, but slow enough to enjoy it. The best part though? That had to be the abseiling off Empress Falls itself.
Neither Dan nor I had experienced abseiling from a waterfall and we both loved it. The water pounded by body, I spun around, and then moved towards the water below. It was such a good experience and we loved it.
We all swum to the rocks and then decided to do one more jump into the water. By that time, my body was in an almost cryogenic state, but I didn't want to miss out. As a little person, it's expected I'd feel the cold more. So, to all my fellow petite peeps, wrap up warm.
The canyoning season with High and Wild has just begun and I'd highly recommend it. If you're keen for a High and Wild adventure, use SarahT10 for 10% off your chosen trip. Check them out at www.highandwild.com.au