On a grey Wellington Saturday, we jumped in our cars and headed through the Rimutakas to Patuna Chasm. We were all excited about the walk, some because it had been on their to-do list for quite some time, and others (like myself) were just keen to get wet!
The first part of the walk took us through pine forest and over farmland. We were given a well-received lesson in what ongaonga looks like and how to avoid it. Thankfully, this lesson served us well, and there were no nettle casualties on this trip. Not too long into the tramp, we stopped for lunch, as a wave-like cliff in the limestone formation looked like an ideal place to stop.
Shortly after lunch, we climbed the ladder and descended into the chasm. Marching upstream for a few meters took us to a wonderful moss-covered, umbrella shaped waterfall.
Descending into the river
We then turned back down stream where the cool water tunnelled through the limestone walls around us. We crossed rocks that were covered in beautiful shell fossils. Carefully, we ambled our way downstream, minding our feet on the slippery rocks and dodging the occasional eel. The scenery was fantastic and almost every 50m or so, we stopped for photographs.
On the way back, there is the option to walk back to the carpark, or you can swim back! Everyone in our group was keen to take the water option (and test out those dry bags) and we were not disappointed! Water up to our necks forced everyone into a doggie paddle for the home stretch.
All soaked, but very happy, we made it back to the cars for a change of clothes and a much anticipated afternoon tea at a cafe in Martinborough. With full tummies, we made the drive back to Wellington, after a great day’s walking.
Photos from Tony Gazley and Emily Shrosbree