How could a place that provides a country with 70 percent of its bottled water not be a major tourist attraction? Many New Zealand travel guides (including our beloved Lonely Planet 2012 edition) do not bother even mentioning it, and so it is arguably one of the country’s better kept secrets. Arguably, because when we decided to visit this pristine place in April it was not busy, but we were certainly not the only ones enjoying the incredibly clear water and lush flora.
So, what is Blue Spring?
As the name suggests, Blue Spring is a spring so pure that it has a beautiful blue hue and is truly crystal clear. Fed from the Mamaku Plateau, a range of hills in the North Island, the water takes about 100 years to filter through. But while the spring looks serene, the flow of water is so strong that it only takes about 12 minutes to fill an entire 25-meter swimming pool!
What to do at Blue Spring?
While the spring and its surroundings look like the ideal place to take a dip on a warm, sunny day (and you will see many locals and tourists actually doing this), a little warning is at its place: The spring has a year-round temperature of 11 degrees Celsius, and that feels ice cold, even on a hot summer day. But perhaps an ice cold bath is all you wish for if you visit the spring and do the long walkway – 3 hours return or 5.2 kilometers from the Whites Road carpark.
When Ahmed, my parents, Maria and I visited the Blue Spring a couple of months ago, we decided to do the shorter and more scenic walk from the Lesley Road carpark. We were lucky enough to be there on a clear, sunny day, intensifying the blue and green tones of the water and seaweed swaying in the stream. Though the walk we did was not difficult, we spent several hours walking the track, stopping every five steps or so for yet another scenic view.
The only thing missing for us was a coffee place at the Blue Spring itself or near the carpark. We would have enjoyed a cup while soaking up the views for sure. But then, we realized, this is New Zealand after all. Where other countries would exploit their natural attractions with corny souvenir shops and other commercial establishments, New Zealand doesn’t – a blessing and a little annoying at the same time.