Chamberlain Creek Trip Report

Metservice promised a near perfect Waitangi weekend. Mother nature delivered a grey cold drizzly one..

But regardless, an adventure was had in Chamberlain Creek by Pip, Chucky and Lara. I’d done Chamberlain in 2006 as my 2nd ever canyon and was looking forward to seeing what I thought of this trip now.

Despite cold drizzle in the dark, we reached Herepai hut after a standard 2hr slog from the Putara Rd end. Someone had left a bunch of macaroni in the hut, so we took the liberty of a pre-sleep snack ;0) I was pleased to see that two other parties had passed through on thier way to Chamberlain, the previous one just last weekend!

Lara’s optimism for the weather didn’t match reality in the morning, but although it was grey, it wasn’t raining..¬† We soon ascended into the clouds and made our way carefully accross the tops, 2hrs 15mins to the start of¬†Chamberlain.

It was cold and grey, so our choice of shortie wetsuits wasn’t the best, though we did stay just warm enough. Chamberlain was quite a bit mellower than I remember. The flows were really low, anchors were plentiful at each drop and none of the waterfalls required any particular management.

Between the beautiful sections of actual canyon, there was plenty of non descript boulder scrambling, which helped keep us warm.

The lower section of Chamberlain was definately the most beautiful and interesting. Here it drops through a true gorge, with some good downclimbs and a couple of wee jumps. The scenery here is quite spectacular.

We’d made very good time down the creek (4hrs30min from the saddle) so we elected to continue on down the Ruamahanga to spend the night at Roaring Stag Lodge. Though we were tired canyoners by the time we arrived, the cozy hut and monday’s rain made it a good decision!

Ruapae Hut
Descending out of the cloud to the saddle above Chamberlain
Upper Chamberlain


Rap 1, 7m
R2, 15m
R4, 15m
Jump 4m


Beautiful lower Chamberlain
Last drop in Chamberlain, a 6m jump into a huge deep pool
At the Ruamahanga, 4hrs 30mins after beginning from the saddle.
Pip clambers up to make a sweet jump in the middle Ruamahanga Gorge
Tough stuff over! Pleased to be at Roaring Stag lodge!

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