Adventure recreation in Australia: A case study that investigated the profile of recreational canyoners, their impact attitudes, and response to potential management options

Nigel Hardiman, Shelley Burgin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Canyoning is growing in popularity in many countries, and in Australia it was well established in the 1990s. Although it is generally accepted that the popularity of this recreational activity continues to grow, quantification of its scale and growth is difficult to determine because canyoning is restricted to the slot valleys of the largely un-patrolled wilderness of the Blue Mountain World Heritage Area. As a basis for management, we undertook a postal survey to determine the canyoners' profile, utilisation trends, their perceptions of impacts, and readiness to self-manage such impacts. We found that the typical canyoner was in the late 30s, male, and likely to have a university education. Canyoners were most likely to visit canyons as part of a club activity, or with friends and family. Few used organised tours, and canyoning was seldom a solo activity. Most perceived that there was moderate damage due to canyoning. Few considered that management should intervene at current levels of impact. We concluded that canyoners could not be relied upon to ensure appropriate sustainable management of such areas. However, since the popularity of the sport appears to be waning there may not be an issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Ecotourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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