Download Research sheet for Waima Gorge
Landowners are reluctant to grant access via the vehicle track to the north. (Long daytrip option)
However, Andrew Watson and friends gained permission for a 3 day Gorge Tramping trip via Isolation Hut and Zoo Hut.
Looks like a classic gorge float/scrambling/tramping trip, rather than a pure canyoning trip.
A selection of photos from Andrew Watson below. Check out the full album of Andrews photos of Waima Gorge on Facebook (along with a trip commentary)
One trip report Log your trip
We went through this gorge Labour weekend October 2013.
We had heard that the gorge was impressive from the 2004 Sven Braeuburn tramping guide which mentioned lots of necessary swims in the waima.
Anyway after camping friday night at Waima river mouth, we set off the normal route up to sawcut gorge, and on to isolated hut and over the saddle to brian boru hut, sven mentions going down brian boru is impressive and plenty of wading required. anyway after lunch we set off to zoo hut where we stayed the night.
Sunday was where we left the reserve – we had got permission from Blue hills station who were fine with us going through, however they might not have understood where we were heading as its not a common route. After zoo hut we headed directly upa fence line and over point 982 surpirsingly steep and down the other side to the waima river. The river looked like it was at a normalish flow and we followed it down and through the slot gorge (which not on the topo – is just up river of the tributary above box stream, the slot gorge is short (15 minutes) a wade/swim though slow moving water with amazing narrow limestone nearly a cave. we camped that night down the waima from box stream. The next day was much more challenging due to cold temperatures and the number of deep pools with compulsory swims – at least 7, but we got to the road end by 9pm after a couple of warm up fires along the way.
This trip is amazing I hope many more get to see it. Though not technical, the fun of being forced to swim, and the feeling of remoteness, unique vegetation and stunning limestone add up to alot of fun. no ropes needed, no downclimbs, just swimming and a lot of distance and commitment