Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Internationally renowned caver breaks new ground near Nelson

April 13, 2016

World-renowned caver and New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) member Kieran McKay has uncovered new subterranean passageways in New Zealand’s Kahurangi National Park in a quest to find one of the world’s longest cave systems.

McKay is part of a team of expert cavers who have overcome obstacles blocking previous expeditions in the caves under Mt Owen, exploring new shafts and passageways.

Their latest expedition follows the team’s discovery of New Zealand’s deepest cave system under nearby Mt Arthur in 2014.

McKay advises that the new finds are “incredibly exciting”, and mark an important development in the North Owen Caving Expedition’s search for links between the Blue Creek Spring system on Mount Owen’s northern side and the massive Bulmer Cavern to the south.

Three previously unexplored vertical shafts were measured at around 300 metres deep.

McKay said the first, accessed from Curtiss Ghyll, led to a rock wall. In the next shaft, a strong breeze was found coming from a crack in the rock at the bottom of the shaft, indicating a connecting passage.

At a third shaft leading from a well-known descent known as the Giant’s Staircase, the team discovered a “huge sump” where McKay said he was able to dive for about 70 metres underwater before returning to the surface. Estimated to be at least 300 metres deep, it was much bigger than anything the team had anticipated, and may indicate a connection to as-yet undiscovered caves.

The team will continue the expedition, which they hope will lead to the discovery that the Bulmer Cavern system is one of the longest cave systems in the world.

McKay explained “when you look at maps of the area, the Bulmer system takes up a third of the space under the mountain, but in the other two thirds we don’t really know what’s out there.

“To start with we’ll go back to the Giant’s Staircase and keep diving. We also found lots of other big passages. It’s an incredible place.”

McKay has a reputation as one of New Zealand’s most active cavers, exploring over 120 kilometres of uncharted cave systems in his career. He holds NZOIA qualifications in Alpine, Rock, Bush and Cave environments, and is an assessor of caving instructors and guides.

He and his team plan to release a film documenting their recent exploits at the Wanaka Film Festival following on from their award-winning film, The Cave Connection – Into the Unknown, which screened at film festivals around the world.

The factors that drive him in his search to find the world’s largest and deepest caves include a sense of achievement, and curiosity about one of the world’s last frontiers.

He adds “exploring new frontiers really brings people together. It’s intense. You work as a team, you against the world. It’s a feeling you only get when you’re out there in the wilderness.”

And while finding new underground worlds sounds extraordinary, McKay believes such experiences can be accessible to others. Budding cavers needed to build a broad range of skills to be capable in a range of different environments so they could tackle challenges such as rock climbing, cave diving and abseiling down underground waterfalls.

For more information on the NZOIA go to www.nzoia.org.nz

Images courtesy Kieran McKay.

6th October 2015 - GERALDINE OUTDOOR INSTRUCTOR RECOGNISED FOR INSPIRING A GENERATION

29th April 2015 - NZRA ESTABLISHES COMMITTEE TO REPRESENT OUTDOOR RECREATION INTERESTS

28th September 2010 - CANYONING SAFETY INITIATIVE MOVES BEYOND RESEARCH

22nd February 2012 - MAJOR PROJECT TO REJUVENATE ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK ECOLOGY

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

 

WATER PARK TOYS

The ultimate children's play experience associated with interactive aquatic toys is more accessible than ever with the introduction of the new water cannon developed by Water Park Toys. The water…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Neptune Benson

Neptune Benson is a manufacturer of high quality water filtration and disinfection products for the recreational, industrial, and municipal water markets. With more than 20,000 installations…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation

 
 

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks

 
 

Vticket

Vticket Pty Ltd is the Australian and New Zealand distributor for Gateway Ticketing Systems Inc., the world leader in high-speed access control, admission control and ticketing software for the…

read more

Attractions / Security / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

LEISURE CONCEPTS AUSTRALIA

Leisure Concepts brings the world’s best fitness equipment brands to Australasia including Eleiko, Atlantis Strength and Merrithew Pilates. With a huge variety of  treadmills,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Boca Systems

BOCA invented the thermal ticket printer back in 1986 and almost 30 years on, it is the industry standard for thermal ticket printing. BOCA continue to put extensive resources into…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

EYE FITNESS

EYE Fitness was established to bridge the gap between inactivity across youth and adult populations in Australia by incorporating innovative health and fitness technologies to get more people active.…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Technology

 
 

The Retention People Australia

The Retention People (TRP) are the leading providers of Customer Experience Management (CEM) software and solutions to the leisure industry. We believe that business success comes from…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Wellness

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business