You’ll need to book early for this adventure, as it only allows 20 people at a time to book in for the trip across private farmland and into the amazing chasm. Tickets are relatively inexpensive – $30 adult / $15 child – for the 2019/2020 summer season. Kids under 6 are not able to participate.
What to Pack
You’ll need water, snacks / lunch, something warm to wear in the chasm if its not a hot day. Leave a change of clothes in the car, because you WILL get wet. Take a camera. Pack everything that you don’t want getting wet into waterproof gear bags. Make sure you wear reasonably sturdy shoes – the walk in involves a chunk of up and down and is exposed, the river is full of tiny bits of gravel and slippery algae. Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen are essential for sunny days.
You’ll meet in the farmers back yard. There’s a good amount of parking off and in the middle of the loop for everyone. Be a few minutes early to allow time to use the toilet in the corner of the parking paddock (it flushes, and there is a hose tap on the fence for hand washing after), and to ensure you have all your gear you need before you leave.
Health and Safety briefing was a bit haphazard for us – here, read this and then sign a waiver – and the briefing was even more so, a muddled run through of what we could expect from the walk as we drove across the farms in the 4wd. Apparently there is usually a trailer that they tow people out on, but it was broken, so they were using the bed of a truck and a 7-seater 4wd to do the transport instead.
Once you’re at the gate, you start with a walk. A small climb and solid drop down to the stream, where you can see the optional exit point. Then you climb up a heap more and sidle around the edge of the chasm for a while. Taking two pre-teens and stopping for some lunch along the way, it took us maybe an hour to get to the actual entrance to the chasm.
When you’re in there, drop off the bulk of your bag and take a wander upstream to the waterfall area. It’s a great introduction to walking in the river. Collect your bag on the way back down past this spot. You can take your time from here on out – we were near the very back of our time slot group, and we still got back to the carpark with more than half an hour to spare.
There’s some interesting bits of walking through the chasm – over a rock and down a ladder, through overhangs, a short thigh-deep section under a water splash (not big enough to call it a waterfall). When you get to the area where you can see the track again, there’s an option to use a rope to climb a rock to get on to the track, or you can go into the next puddle and find an easier walk onto the track.
From here, the option is to walk back along the track or to continue down the river. You will be chest deep (on a normal height adult) if you go down the river, so make sure your bag is suitably packed if you want to go that way. Pick up is back at the drop off point and then its back to the car and home!
You’ll need your own transport for this one. The Chasm is about 20 minutes drive out of Martinborough along some gravel roads. Stunning country and on a good day you get some lovely views.