Patuna Chasm, a cave system in a gorge of a river cutting through limestone cliff.

A 20-minute drive from Martinborough in the Wairarapa, Patuna Chasm has an otherworldly feel that makes it one of the most underrated day walks in the country.

Located on Patuna Farm, a sheep and beef station, the limestone chasm is on private property. Public access is via a guided, three-hour walk.

The chasm was formed more than 1.3 million years ago. The walk cuts through native bush before entering the chasm and following along the Ruakōkoputuna riverbed.

Highlights include a waterfall, fossils, stalactites, and eels swimming through the clear water.

The property also offers clay bird shooting, a food trailer, and self-contained accommodation for four guests on-site. The chasm is only open to the public at certain times of the year and when the water level is low.

Location details

Jurisdiction South Wairarapa District Council
Permits required Private property, contact Screen Wellington
Location descriptors Unusual landforms, caves, barren, rock formations, alien landscapes, lunar terrain, extraterrestrial features, mystical geology, chasms, alien terrain, peculiar landmarks, unearthly landscapes, caverns, surreal landforms, rivers.