Monday, 10 March 2014

Patuna Chasm Farm Adventure

This weekend we took an afternoon to explore a different part of the country we call home. We decided to do a day trip away, and drove from Wellington to Martinborough. Not to far out of Martinborough is Patuna Farm Adventures, (Visit their website here) which harbours an absolutely awe inspiring treasure, the Patuna Chasm.

Not your typical first year wedding anniversary event, but then we don't consider ourselves as your "typical" couple. It turned out the be a very worthwhile and memorable experience.

 We arrived at the meeting point at 10:30am, to meet the farm owner. Via Quad-bike he lead us to the track entry point. Equipped with a brief introduction and written paper instruction in hand, we were on our way.

On the website it says to "Expect to get wet!", and it didn't take us long to understand why. After a few minutes walking through a pine forest, we encountered our first obstacle. Which was wading through an ankle deep stream. This was a nice and gentle introduction of what was yet to come. 

Before long we were greeted with some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever witnessed. The photos we captured just don't do it justice. There were many times where a moment was needed to truly soak in the sights, sounds, and appreciate the timespan that was required to create the limestone chasm that we were standing in.

The way the track is mapped out meant that we were crossing both rivers and farmland. So we decided to dry out and have a sit down lunch at "Wave Rock".

(Trying not to be squinty FAIL!)
No rest for the wicked though, as the best was yet to come.

The waterfalls were just beautiful. We spent quite a while in this spot soaking (literally!) up our surroundings.

Everything was incredibly green and the moss was SUPER thick.

The water was crystal clear with small fish in the pools, tuna (eel) near the cliff banks and the occasional koura (fresh water crayfish) hiding between the rocks. 

The amount of life this type of ecosystem holds is wonderful to see, if only all rivers could be this way. 

The chasm is made of limestone so we also had a glimpse into the biodiversity of eons past via the many fossils present in its rocks and walls.

We would have loved to have taken more photos but as it was, the balance between capturing the moments and keeping our technology dry was teetering on disaster. Thankfully nothing was damaged. Thanks goodness for snap-lock baggies!

I would recommend taking quick drying sneakers, as water is going to get in them no matter how hard you try. The amount of time the water takes to leave your shoes is the question. Chris's tramping boots were much more water logged than my runners at the end of the trip.
Take food, water, sunscreen, spare clothes, and waterproof bags for anything water sensitive.

We ended up finishing the walk at around 4pm, so it wasn't exactly a short walk, but then we weren't in a hurry either. We managed to experience the chasm while still keeping our shoulders dry, but this meant a few more detours; finding ways around the large pools of water. If we didn't have so much gadgetry in our bags then we would have welcomed the pools to swim through. A good portion of the walk required knee to waist deep water so be prepared for that, its unavoidable.

After our adventurous day we took the more traditional first wedding anniversary route, and had drinks and a wonderful dinner with wine at Tirohana Estate. 
(Post to come)

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