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The Blue Spring, Putaruru. Water so pure that it appears blue

Blue Spring Putararu, Waikato - New Zealand

Visit the Blue Spring, a natural taonga (treasure)

The Blue Spring in Putaruru, Waikato, New Zealand, is famous for its clear water. Just a short trip from Cambridge, we decided to experience this natural wonder ourselves. The walk to the Blue Springs through the Waikato countryside is both pleasant and unexpectedly beautiful, making it a must-visit spot for the Waikato.

Important Update: The Te Waihou Walkway and Blue Spring are closed to the public. As confirmed by the local council, access will not be allowed until they reopen in November 2024.

The Springs are just 5km north of Putaruru, where the Mamaku Plateau feeds this stunning spot. Remarkably, the water takes 50 to 100 years to reach the Blue Spring.

The water at Blue Spring is so pure that it appears to be a beautiful blue while remaining virtually transparent. It flows at a rate of 42 cubic meters per minute, enough to fill a six-lane (25-meter) swimming pool in about 12 minutes. The constant temperature is 11 degrees Celsius year-round. In the video below, we put the camera under the water.

When planning your visit, experience the tranquillity of the walk to the springs. It’s a beautiful journey through the Waikato countryside alongside the river leading to the springs.

The impressively clear water supplies around 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water.

Cool facts about the Blue Spring
  • Purity and Clarity: The Blue Spring’s water is incredibly pure. It takes 50 to 100 years to filter through the Mamaku Plateau before emerging in the spring. This extended filtration process makes water so clear that it provides around 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water.

  • Temperature and Flow Rate: The water from the Blue Spring maintains a constant temperature of 11 degrees Celsius throughout the year. It flows at a rate of 42 cubic meters per minute, enough to fill a six-lane, 25-meter swimming pool in approximately 12 minutes.

  • Optical Purity: The water’s striking blue colour is due to its high optical purity. The filtration removes particles that would otherwise absorb light, leaving only the blue wavelengths visible. This results in the spring’s distinctive and vibrant blue hue; more information is here for those interested.

  • Environmental Protection: Swimming in the Blue Spring is prohibited to protect the delicate ecosystem.

  • Natural Treasure: New Zealand considers The Blue Spring a natural taonga (treasure). Efforts are made to preserve its beauty and purity for future generations, and visitors are encouraged to act as guardians (kaitiaki) of the area.

How long is the walk to the springs?

The track along the Waihou River winds through wetlands and rolling pastoral land, offering views of small waterfalls, native bush, and the famous Blue Spring; if you are lucky, along the way, you get glimpses of the trout who make it their home.

The full walk takes about an hour and a half each way, starting from Whites Road (State Highway 28) near Putaruru.

Alternatively, you can take a shorter 15-minute walk each way from Leslie Road. If you are short of time, we recommend this walkway; see the map below.

The Blue Spring and Te Waihou Walkway location map

Blue Spring Map

While in South Waikato, there's plenty to see and do.

Enjoy local cheese at Over the Moon Dairy Company, explore the Waikato River trails by bike, or try fly fishing in the local waterways.

Tirau offers boutique galleries and gift stores, while Tokoroa, slightly further south, showcases its forestry heritage with the carved Talking Poles and the NZ Timber Museum. Another hour south will take you to Lake Taupo.

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