A Hidden Gem of New Zealand - Patuna Chasm


26 March 2022

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure activity to experience something different and unique, this is the walk for you. Patuna Chasm allows you to walk through these beautiful limestone rocks carved majestically by water.
Key notes:

Name of the Walk: Patuna Chasm

Where is it: On a private farmland in Martinborough, Wairarapa. So, you have to pay $40 NZD for this walk. It’s WORTH IT though!

Time: 3 hours including the ride from parking to starting point

Toilets: There is one at the car park

All Picture Credit goes to: @_hd_photography

I will talk about everything in detail based on my experience, but to summarise, here are some important facts about this River Walk:
You need to book in advance, booking open from November to March (basically NZ summer, because, who wants to freeze to death in a river in winter, right?)

The whole walk is not going to take more than 2-2.5 hours.

It is of great IMPORTANCE you wear shoes with grip. You can carry river shoes, if you are smart like my friend who I went with, if you are me, shoes with grip will do the job fine.

There are 2 options, either you book a drop off, which takes you from parking to the starting point in a trailer attached to a 4WD or you can get in touch with the property manager and book a spot to drive behind the trailer in your own 4WD. Either way, you have to pay those $40! The price you pay I think is for the maintenance of the walk on private property. If you are thinking of 4W Driving yourself, make sure to call and book a time, because they only take 2-3 cars every round.

Once you get to the start of the walk, you will be told a pick-up time, roughly 4 hours, plenty of time to do the walk and have a little picnic at the end. Because this walk has time slots that everyone follows, you will be walking with people in the first bush section of the walk. I personally wasn’t a fan of that because it felt like I was on a school field trip.

As you walk through the bush, you get to this Wave Rock, where everyone will want to take pictures. This limestone structure is bit unusually placed and you can climb on to the curve/wave, so wait for your turn. Just after you have practiced your patience and finally managed to awkwardly take picture on the rock while everyone is watching you pose, you keep walking and get to the point where the track joins the river. You will have to be careful going down if it has rained, because it will be slippery.

Then you are in the river, you can walk upstream (towards your right) and go to the pretty little waterfall, or you can keep going downstream (left) which will lead to the end of the track. Now FYI your feet are going to be soaked! Just accept your faith and enjoy the journey.

Depending on if it has rained or not, the water level may be high or not. When I was there water level was normal, but in my research about this track I did read that, water can get as high as your waist level in some parts. Like I mentioned earlier, you can use river shoes if you were clever enough to carry them with you. Otherwise, just wear some nice shoes with grip and you’ll be sweet.

When you have managed to not fall multiple time,

Look up and admire the beauty!

Me and my friends, did the bush part and river walk in about 1.5 hours, and as we climbed out of the river part, we were like, umm we have driven all the way from Napier (about 3.5 hours drive!) for this, we can’t go back already. And decided to go back to the Wave rock and chill there. We sat there for good 30-45mins, had some drinks, until next round of people started showing up. We made our way back to the start/end of the walk through the bush and just hung out with some other fellow walkers.

Will I do the walk again? Yes, absolutely, if I am taking a bunch of friends with me who haven’t been there before. Maybe not just for myself, as it does cost $40.
Do I recommend this walk? 100%!!! It is nothing like what I have experienced in New Zealand and was an absolute treat.