Designed for fit adventurers with a head for heights, Lord of the Rungs is Wildwire Wanaka’s most advanced climb all the way to the top of the Twin Falls waterfall.Photo: Camilla Rutherford


If your fit and have a good head for heights then Wanaka’s spectacular Lord of Rungs waterfall climb is certainly an adventure to be had.

This incredible 450 metre high via ferrata climb runs alongside a waterfall and is the highest of its kind in the world.

The route to the top follows a kilometre of cables, weaving over, above and behind the waterfalls, and crosses a 35-metre Tyrolean traverse using a pulley.

The breathtaking backdrop of sweeping views to the valley below and the surrounding mountains all add to the exhilaration of being on a mountainside and there’s drama at every twist and turn.

Mountaineer turned tourism operator and guide, Mark Morrison has been working on his latest adventure activity for a couple of years, and is now poised to launch the third stage of his Wildwire Wanaka climb.

Climbing experience is not necessary, Mark says, but the climb “does demand a reasonably good level of fitness and some upper body strength as we climb through some very exciting overhangs.”

Clients, he says, “will have to be keen and come with a very good head for heights and adventure!”

After years of climbing, mountain guiding and safety assignments around the world, Wildwire Wanaka is “a coming home, settling down with a family opportunity” for Mark and his business partner and wife, Canadian-born “half-Kiwi” Laurel.

The couple, who originally met in Antarctica, worked together around the world until setting up their new business in Wanaka three years ago. Now the parents of two children, Mark says Wanaka is their “perfect lifestyle choice”.

“We live in a place of outstanding natural beauty – beside a lake on the edge of the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring National Park which has some of New Zealand’s best climbs. We have ski resorts, year-round walking and mountain biking, and a lake. Best of all, we have an exciting career but can still come home at night to the family.”

Wildwire Wanaka has exclusive access to Twin Falls which sits on a private farm about 20 minutes by road from lakeside Wanaka. Nearby Aspiring Helicopters are also on hand to fly in clients from around the Otago region and, in the case of ‘lord of the rungs’ climbers, return them to terra firma.

Three climbing options on the Twin Falls give clients of “all fitness levels and abilities” a full range of experiences from the 3-hour ‘go wild’ beginner climb to the longer, ‘wild thing’ intermediate ascent and the latest more technical ‘lord of the rungs’.

“You don’t need any climbing experience and only moderate fitness for the beginner climb. If you can climb a ladder and manage the fear of heights, then you can do it. We’ve had grandmothers and children as young as nine years do that climb,” he says. “And we find that many of our beginner climbers actually ask to upgrade to the second level once they’ve completed the first.”