Te Waikoropupu Springs, Golden Bay. © davidwallphoto.com

Te Waikoropupu Springs Scenic Reserve: the largest freshwater springs in the southern hemisphere


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Just out of Takaka, in gorgeous Golden Bay, on the way to Farewell Spit, lie the Te Waikoropupu Springs.

These are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water on the planet. True! Why aren’t they better known, you may well ask yourself?

The water is almost too clear to be true; it has actually been scientifically measured to be among the clearest water in the world. They reckon the only water in the world that’s clearer is the Blue Lake, also in Tasman, and under the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Gonna be quite hard to prove that, eh. Got a jersey?

But these are no gentle, serene, lapping little pools.

These waters are raging, the springs discharging 14,000 litres a second.

Come for a stroll and check it out. There’s an amazing loop walk, which takes you around the lakes and bushland environs. There’s a wee and very nicely appointed whare, superb signage and plenty of interesting explanations.

The springs vent into a lake, the floor or bed of which is covered with white sand. Waters expelled from some of the smaller vents carry the sand upward. These vents are known as the ‘dancing sands’, both stunning and, to Maori, very sacred.

Remember though, there’s no ‘contact’ with the water at all. It’s a look but don’t swim/snorkel/jump/dive experience. But it’s an experience you must experience!


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