Cave Stream, Canterbury, New Zealand

Chris taking in Castle Hill
Just taking it all in!

About 100km west of Christchurch, in Canterbury New Zealand is a scenic reserve called Castle Hill. This is home to incredible rock formations; a great spot for rock climbing and bouldering and the set for blockbuster movies such as The Lord of the Rings and Narnia.

Castle Hill rock formations
Castle Hill rock formations

A few km’s north of this is a cave complex called Cave Stream. This is where Ash and I decided to start our next adventure. Equipped with some warm gears, sturdy shoes, head-torches and my good mate Dave, we were ready to tackle the cave head on. Cave Stream has taken lives in the past and if the waters are running high, it is not something to be taken lightly.  I figured that because it was January, the majority of the alpine snow would have already melted earlier that spring.

As we scurried down a small scree slope, and stood at the mouth of the cave – the thoughts of what horrors may await us within, began to fill our thoughts. Having watched the movie Descent earlier in the year, I was imagining some pretty brutal creatures down there! We entered the cave after stepping foot into the icy cold, dark waters. Waist deep and freezing we set off into the pitch-black void, swallowed up by the gloom.

Mouth of Cave Stream
Mouth of Cave Stream

For at least twenty minutes we clambered through the dark, carefully choosing our step on rock faces that had been sanded and polished incredibly smooth by millennia of fluvial erosion. The formations the water had created over the years was something I had only seen in magazines. Sometimes the roof of the cave would open up revealing cave spiders and a shiny, silver substance that reflected off the light being cast by our head-torches. It may very well have been silver or some other metal, seeping out of the rock above us.

Towards the end of the cave, the water became deeper and the last few metres involved a precarious climb up a steep rock face and a hands-and-knees crawl out into the light of day. Boom! Another adventure conquered and three cold and wet survivors out safe, fortunately without encountering any monsters along the way!


Walking up to Castle Hill
Walking up to Castle Hill

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