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Adventure sports safety

Canyons, caves and cliff faces are spectacular places to visit. And adventure sports like canyoning, climbing, caving and abseiling offer a thrilling opportunity to explore these unique environments. But these adventure sports involve inherent safety risks that should be taken seriously. We strongly recommend that you only head out under the guidance of a suitable group or club, or with one of our partner adventure sports tour operators.

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Emergencies and closures

  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero (000) or activate your emergency beacon from a suitable location.
  • Check the NPWS alerts page for current closures that may be associated with bushfires, prescribed burning operations, pest control activities or infrastructure maintenance.

Never go alone

  • The ideal safe group size is 4 people for all adventures. Take responsibility for your own safety and be self reliant.
  • Only participate in activities if you and all members of your group have the right skills and experience.
  • Make sure your leader has enough experience. Your leader should be able to get you there, but more importantly get you out of the park safely in the event of an emergency.
  • Training and instruction for adventure is included with authorised NPWS tour operators, so we always recommend that you head out with a licensed operator.
  • Know the proposed route and stick to it.

Tell somebody

Leave details of your group, route and expected return time with a responsible person who knows who to contact and what details to provide if you are overdue.

Plan ahead

  • Bring food, water, safety gear, first aid supplies, maps, navigation equipment, sunscreen and clothing for all contingencies.
  • In wet environments, hypothermia can be a real hazard – be sure to take wetsuits and dry warm clothes.
  • Avoid caving and canyoning after heavy rain or if rain is forecast. Unexpected dangerous conditions arise during elevated water flows after heavy rain. Please check the Bureau of Meteorology website before setting out.
  • Avoid peak use times in well known canyons if possible. This especially applies to Empress and Claustral canyons in the Blue Mountains, where overcrowding can cause delays and safety problems.
Thredbo River Track, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Clint and Todd Wright