A modified, but pretty river with a gorgeous gorge and Blue Spring, one of New Zealand’s most notable fresh water sources.
Te Waihou Walkway is well signposted on SH28 (Whites Road), 3 km from the junction with SH1. There are toilets here.
The parking area at the walk’s conclusion is 3.7 km along Leslie Road.
Constructed as a community project in 2000, this walkway is a fine example of a confluence among volunteers, a local government, landowners and iwi.
The metalled track has frequent marker posts with distances indicated on the design.
There are further toilets near the Blessing Point and half way.
From SH28, the track weaves through farmland, accompanied by the lapping waters of the Waihou River. At the Blessing Point is an avenue of native trees, a covered corridor and appropriate place for the opening ceremony of the track in 1999.
The grassy track then continues through native plantings, past both bridges for the loop track (which gives an alternative return route on the opposite side of the river). After the covered picnic bench and toilet, the track rounds a bend before arriving at the scenic highlight - the Gorge.
Here, the river narrows and rushes through a rocky cleft with an iron wheel perpetually in motion. Fern-filled fringes create a luxuriance to the steep sided walls. A short section of steep steps exit the gorge to a boardwalk before Blue Spring.
The pumping shed for Putaruru’s water supply and viewing platform at the springs are barricaded to prevent swimming. Human skin oils and dislodged attachments are polluting to the water and disturbing to the other life.
It’s then 10 minutes through farmland to the Leslie Road carpark.
Either arrange transport at both ends or return via the same track.
Blue Spring supplies around 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water. It takes 50 - 100 years to filter through from source up in the Mamaku Plateau. 42 cubic metres per minute (or 700 litres per second) flow from the spring, which has a constant temperature of 11 degrees Celsius. Bottling companies pay $1.05 per 1000 litres.
Many birds such as shags, paradise ducks and pukeko (Putaruru Poultry) are resident here.
King Te Wherowhero Tawhiao, the second Maori King of New Zealand journeyed along the river.
Mr and Mrs Addenbrooke farmed the area from 1934, as task taken up from 1938 by the Edmeades family.
North Island ▷ Waikato ▷ Putaruru
Showing 13 reviews of 14.
18 September 2018. We went from the most distant car park. A nice walk, the river getting bluer as we went. Very quiet in places. Lots of birds. Good facilities. The spring was not what was expected tho. Just an area by the side of the river. No real sign of water streaming out.
Well worth while walk on a warm day.
Shame others don’t respect the place. Cans thrown into the bush and something best not described in the loo at the spring!
We made this walk after visiting Hobbiton. Great and easy walk down a nice river. Clear signs.
Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 74 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.
Beautiful and pristine, clearest water, toilets dotted along the route!
Blue spring, very beautiful, for free! Short enough walk for the kids.
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
Blue spring, very nice.
Beautiful and so worth a look.
This was one of the absolute best things we saw in New Zealand, it's completely stunning. The walk to get there is just heavenly and the springs themselves are beautiful.
We entered from the Leslie Rd end and the day we went, which was just an ordinary weekday in the middle of winter, we could barely find anywhere to park along the entire road. There were vast numbers of people, most of them tourists so someone somewhere is directing visitors to this place. The facilities are nowhere near able to cope with the numbers of people now visiting and it's actually looking dangerous as it's a winding road, blind bends, with frequent logging trucks coming around bends. They really need to very quickly upgrade the parking to accommodate all the people wanting to see this special place. There was even a man in a van selling ice creams, in winter! With a queue of people! But do go and see the springs, it's very well worth it. Enchanting.
Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.
Nice little walking track (easily accessible, about 2 to 3 hours) with heaps of Kiwi and tourists on it. Beautiful spring, but just way too crowded.
The water is very clear. When the sun shines it is very beautiful and surprising to see all there is under water. A little bit cold to swim!!
Not only breathtaking both mentally and physically due to the ice cold temperature of the natural crystal clear waters of the spring, a bloody good time, great quick trip from the road. Well worth it.
Was an amazingly cold, but wonderful swim and jump into the amazingly clear water. Very blue at the actual spring where you jump into.
Nice and short walk. To avoid passing over boring farmland better park the car at the end of the track and go the reverse. Good for a swim at the water station but don't stop there because the best comes after so keep on going another 1.5km. Total time return about 2hours. Worth it.
Beautiful! Must do! Park the car AT THE END of the walk on Leslie Road, go 1km and you will already see amazing blue river, then 1km more (really worth it). Go back when you start to see typical farmland hills. There are flyers about this walk in the information center in Tirau.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍