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FORD creek chasm guide

==the cj way++

The CJ way Guide to Ford Creek Chasm


Incredible mudstone canyon

Blackball, West Coast

Allow 45 mins to the entrance of canyon 



Best time to visit: mid morning or late afternoon

Water shoes


  • Coordinates of canyon: -42.359227, 171.402998

  • Coordinates of parking: -42.359646, 171.404735

  • Parking here is just a small roadside clearing on the shoulder. From there take the 4WD track (downhill and back the way you came). At the bottom (1 min walk) there is a line of power poles, take a right at this junction and walk for approx. 4-6 minutes along the overgrown track - this follows the power poles. After 4 minutes, start looking for a small clearing on the left hand side which allows access down into the stream. There is a small rope to help you down. You enter directly into the water so make sure you already have your water shoes on. From here you walk downstream, back the way you came but in the water. The canyon is only a few hundred metres downstream but it took us over 30 minutes to get there (and about an hour the first time). The entrance to the canyon is marked with a big log and rusty bit of pole (from the old Minesite). We rock hopped for a bit, swapped sides multiple times and quite often resigned to the fact we had to walk in waist deep water as it was the safest option. You can continue up as far as you want in the Canyon - just be careful and know your own limits. 

 best time to visit? 

  • On a clear, sunny day with good weather, and definitely not after recent rain.

  • Early-mid morning and mid-late afternoon provides the best light.

  • Do not attempt this adventure if it might rain as flash flooding could easily occur here. Also do not attempt after rain as the flow of the stream could be too strong to navigate safely.

 cj travel tips 

  • Only attempt this walk if you are confident scrambling on slippery rocks, wading through waist deep icy cold water and have suitable footwear (we would not attempt this walk without water shoes). Be sure to tell someone of your travel plans too and what time you should be out. (We suggest allowing a few hours here). 

  • As it can get very cold down there (it's in shade most of the day) we would advise packing a jacket or a change of clothes. 

  • A dry bag or a waterproof case for your camera would be perfect here. We forgot our dry bag the first time and wading through the water with camera and tripod in hand was very stressful.

  • A PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is a must here (in our opinion). We would not have attempted this canyon without our PLB. 

 cj photography tips 

  • A polarising filter is absolutely essential to cut the glare out in the water and on the rock faces.

  • Experiment with both portrait and landscape orientation, as they both offer such different perspectives (we still can’t decide which is our favourite).

  • Ideally wait until the sun is low enough so that one side of the chasm is not too blown out. Having said that, some light looks great, but will require exposure blending.

  • Bring your tripod as most of our exposures were above 1 second.

 what we found useful to pack 

​In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful:

  • Dry bag (we forgot this the first time but writing it here so you don’t make the same mistake!)

  • Towel

  • Warm clothes

  • Wetsuit (if you have one) or togs/clothes that you're able to get wet

  • Water shoes (we would not attempt without)

  • Personal locator beacon if you have one

  • First aid kit (chances that you will slip here are quite high)

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