The Chasm

The Chasm

Please note: Part of the track is closed and crossing over the river to view the waterfalls and rock formations is not possible. However, you can still walk the track to the Cleddau River’s edge and view The Chasm. Please visit the DOC website for up-to-date information on track closures and modifications.

Not far from the Homer Tunnel, another scenic highlight is worth a brief stop: the Chasm is a series of gushing waterfalls just a short walk from the road. If you are travelling to Milford Sound on a day tour, your driver guide will probably make a stop at the Chasm.

From the carpark, you’ll walk through tranquil native forest along an easy, well-maintained track. Listen out for native birdsong as you stroll along the path. As you near the Chasm, you can’t miss hearing the powerful thunder of the falls. 

The Chasm - Southland
The Chasm Walk - Fiordland National Park

The Chasm was formed by the Cleddau River being forced through a narrow rocky valley on its course down from the Darran mountains. As the waters built up, they created thunderous waterfalls. Small rocks and gravel carried downstream scoured the river down to its bedrock. In some places, the river’s powerful currents swirled these small rocks around in small nooks and crannies. Over the centuries, this process sculpted the surrounding rocks into marvellous swirling patterns and smoothed-out basins.

The sheer force of the water as it pounds through the Chasm is impressive to behold – but notoriously difficult to photograph. It’s hard to capture the depth and volume of these waterfalls from any one angle. And if you’re visiting Milford Sound in wet weather, this photo stop will be even more awesome!

The walk from the carpark to the Chasm is 400m (437 yards) return and is fairly flat. It is very important to stay on the path and hold onto all safety railings, as the area around the Chasm can be dangerous.

After you’ve visited the Chasm, return to the Milford Road. From here it descends through forest-carpeted canyons to Milford Sound itself, where even more breathtaking scenery awaits you.