The Blue Springs walkway and Owharoa Falls

The Blue Springs (Te Puna) also known as “ Te Waihou Walkway” (The New Water) and Owharoa falls.

upstream of the blue springs
A river like no other

Today’s post is on The Blue Springs in the South Waikato District, which I visited during the Christmas break. It is about a four hours drive from Auckland, entry is free and the Waihou river and surroundings are beautiful. If you have a day free and feel bored, I would strongly suggest you jump in your car and get some fresh air whilst walking this one of a kind walkway. It really is peaceful and serene and may I say it, just a hint of how I imagine what rivers in heaven may look like.

A little piece of heaven on earth

The Blue Springs takes about three hours to walk all the way around and is a very easy walk, It takes about twenty minutes to reach the viewing platform from the carpark entry on Leslie road. The intensity of the blue water increases as you walk up the walkway and is like no river I have ever seen before. I could not believe such rivers existed, the water is so clear you can see the fishes swimming under the water clear as day, the foliage in the water bright green and you can actually see the bottom of the river bed at certain points. In hindsight, I wish I took a flask of tea or coffee so I could sit on a bench and just admire the views with a nice hot drink (yes I am British, everything is made even better with a cup of tea or coffee lol).

Main viewing platform at the blue springs
View from main viewing platform

Fun fact for the science buff followers: (courtesy of http://www.southwaikato.govt.nz )

“The reason for the blue colour (and high visual clarity) of the Waihou River and its spring source is the high optical purity of the water. Pure water is intrinsically blue in hue because it absorbs red light leaving only blue and (some) green light to be transmitted to the observer’s eye. Pure natural waters are blue to blue-green in colour because they lack light-absorbing constituents and particles. Both particles and light-absorbing matter are efficiently removed during the long settlement time of spring water while in aquifers”.

Amazing clear blue water

Speaking of science and speaking of tourism, I feel it is my duty to say PLEASE PLEASE do not try and swim in the Blue spring beside the main viewing platform. The Blue Spring is fragile, so much so in the space of one Summer due to high tourism ( I think there was an Instagram post that went viral) the intensity of the blue had significantly decreased due to the plants becoming damaged because of the swimming. It would be a shame to ruin such an unusual natural river just because we want a quick dip. Further along the river, I think there is an area you can swim in but please do consider how your actions affect the environment.

 

The Waihou river is created by springs and takes about 50 -100 years to reach the Blue spring from the Mamaku Plateau. The water is so clear and clean it is the source of water not only for the Putaruru community but also the world as it is used to produce 70% of the country’s bottled water. As you see your actions here are significant, so please bare this in mind.

small rapid formations
Little surprises are hidden throughout

As you walk around you will spot wildlife in the river such as ducks and birds, on the hills you may see sheep and in the foliage, you may find butterflies flying past you. There are also waterfalls along the way amongst other pleasant little surprises.

Black shag perched on a tree branch
Trout eating bird

Black Shag at the Blue springs New Zealand

Guess the name of this bird 🙂 for the answer see the bottom of the page (You have to read the post first cheeky). Hint it is two words, the first word is the birds colour and the second word is a rude word. This is not a racist joke, I just thought the bird had a funny name, so my apologies if you feel I have offended you I did not mean to.

If you want to make more of a day of it, 1.5 hours northwards is a large waterfall called “Owharoa falls” this is a fabulous place to swim without damaging the environment and it actually is a waterfall with a strong presence.

Owharoa falls
Enjoying a swim at Owharoa falls

 

Finally, the bird is called a “black shag”:). I hope you enjoyed reading this post and you feel eager to explore walkways local to you.


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