A hen's celebration in Empress Falls Canyon

Hen's celebration in Empress Falls | Lauren Storaker
Hen's celebration in Empress Falls | Lauren Storaker
I cannot think of a better activity for a group of adventurous women to celebrate a friends upcoming nuptials than by doing a canyon… in fancy dress!

As a canyon guide and general outdoorsy type, I have a lot of friends with similar interests. When the wedding plans for a good friend were kicking off the ground, we girls threw around ideas for what to do for a Hens Day. We settled on a night on the town… but some of us needed more adventure than a few dubiously named cocktails. 
Amongst all the possible additional celebratory activities, a canyon in the Blue Mountains was top of the list. 

Allowing ample recovery time from the aforementioned cocktails, we set off a little later than normal. It wasn’t too hard to decide which canyon to do. Just around the corner from us in Wentworth Falls, is Empress Canyon which is action packed and fun with a relatively short walk out.
In addition to delivering fully equipped adventure tours, Blue Mountains Adventure company also hire gear, so I was able to easily equip the girls for our hens’ adventure. Importantly we also packed one other vital piece of equipment – an out-there rainbow unicorn headband that would fit over the Hen’s helmet!
All kitted out with both canyoning gear and our array of brightly coloured tutus, we headed to the canyon. A word of warning for anyone thinking of undertaking a similar mission, tight fitting tutus that you can only just squish into, are much harder to get on over a 5mm wetsuit! This was a hen’s adventure so not wearing the tutu was just not an option. 
Hen's celebration in Empress Falls Canyon |  <i>Lauren Storaker</i>

As the experienced professional canyon guide, and even though most of them had done this canyon before, I still gave the girls a reminder of the important safety considerations necessary for canyon adventures. Having the skills and knowledge before undertaking an adventure like this are vital to ensuring you return safely.

The journey into Empress Canyon starts spectacularly with a jump, which is usually done backwards. Only one of us had not done the canyon before - of course we got her to jump first! After an initial bout of nerves, she did it like a champion. The following two jumps are just as thrilling. I love it that each jump in Empress Falls Canyon has its own flavour, so they remain exciting. One of the rewards of being a guide is seeing people who think that they aren’t capable of doing a jump, and then conquering the fear or proving wrong that part in our brain that tells us we can’t do something. 
The next section of canyon involves walking and wading through shallow water. In this section you can marvel at the beauty of the green ‘carpeted’ walls typical of many Blue Mountains Canyons; the colours are so spectacular, and the flora is unique to these environments. We all appreciated having that little piece of paradise all to ourselves. 
As you near the end of the canyon, the excitement builds to its crescendo. There is a fun natural waterslide into a pool before you get to the final 30 metre waterfall abseil. Blue Mountains Adventure Company categorise this canyon as an introductory canyon when it is combined with abseiling in the morning. Don’t let that fool you. This abseil is very technical and requires prior abseiling experience - hence combining with the morning abseil session. (See Empress Falls Canyon and Abseiling).
We were joined by a guided group at the top of the abseil. Some of our friends were the guides and their clients were totally stoked at doing their first ever canyon. They also thought it was hilarious to see us doing it in fancy dress!

One by one the women conquered the waterfall abseil. We got some great pictures of the bride-to-be descending the waterfall in her white dress. 
Everyone was so happy with the experience at the end and glad that we had decided to do the hens adventure in addition to the night before. Empress Canyon in fancy dress is an experience that will not be forgotten. Fancy dress or not, I recommend highly to challenge yourself with this canyon, it will be one of the best experiences of your life. 
Written by Lauren Storaker – BMAC guide since 2018

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We respectfully acknowledge the Dharug, Darkinjung, Dharawal, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, and Wiradjuri language groups as the traditional custodians of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and thank them for sharing this beautiful land with us. Our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines our commitment to building respectful relationships, creating meaningful opportunities, and addressing inequalities that have historically existed.

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