enjoy high level excitement then why not step boldly over the
edge of a near-vertical rock face?
Abseiling (or rappelling) is a classic outdoor adventure
challenge, which anyone can enjoy. You dont need experience
to enter this vertical world, just a desire to overcome a natural
fear of heights and give it a go. The feeling of achievement when
you reach the base of the cliff is ample reward.
It is basically a controlled free-fall where friction is exerted
on the abseil rope through a metal descending device (usually a
figure-of-eight or a ladder rack). You have total control of the
rate of descent by holding the abseil rope. Strength is not
required, just good abseil technique, which qualified instructors
can teach you in a couple of hours.
Outdoor Adventure companies offer abseiling in a number of North
Island towns including Auckland, National Park, Taupo and
Waitomo. South Island centres include Christchurch, Queenstown
Waitomo boasts the longest abseil in the country - a 20 minute
descent into a 100 metre deep abyss, known as The Lost World.
Thrill seekers also have the option of abseiling down thundering
waterfalls and water chutes in deep Waitomo caverns. The Outdoor
Pursuits Centre in Tongariro National Park has a range of
training courses, which include abseiling skills. A number of
Auckland adventure operators run courses at the Mt Eden Quarry
and other locations.
So tighten up your locking carabiner, check the abseil and belay
rope anchors, lay back to the horizontal and step lively down the
rock wall. Savour the feeling of conquering vertical space -
its a real buzz.