4 January 2017

Te Waikoropupū Springs

Te Waikoropupū Springs or as the locals call it ‘Pupu Springs’ is a special place in Golden Bay you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s only 4 kms from Takaka heading towards Collingwood. Once you get to the ‘Waitapu Bridge’ which crosses the Takaka River, you turn immediately left.

The road begins by following the Takaka River and then moves away and winds among farmland for about 3kms.

When you cross over a small one-way bridge, you’ll sense that Pupu Springs must be nearby as the water flowing beneath the bridge is crystal clear.

The scenery then changes to masses of smoky grey manuka trees smothered in white flowers. And growing underneath them are a carpet of lime green ferns.

Although the car park provides lots of parking spaces, when I arrived it was almost full. I managed to find a park beside a station-wagon whose owners were taking advantage of the warm weather by drying their socks out the window.

The entrance to the springs begins with several noticeboards displaying historical and factual information on the area. There’s also an interesting explanation on why the springs are spiritually significant to Māori.

The walk in is an easy 25 – 30 minute stroll along a track covered in tiny, white marble, which joins up with several boardwalks. The path is surrounded in native bush, pungas and ferns. It’s breath taking. The crystal clear stream meanders beside most of the walk. It’s hard to cover more than a few metres without stopping to take a photo.

It was a magical walk. I could hear native birds chittering and chattering up in the trees and swooping from branch to branch. A soft, warm wind sprinkled tiny manuka flowers from above like confetti at a wedding. Simply stunning!

One of the highlights of the walk ( one of many) was finding three Morepork resting on the branches of a punga tree. The smaller one which I presume was only a baby had his/her back to me. I thought of moving through the bush to get a photo from another angle but I didn’t want to disturb it. So I focused on the adult owls instead.

Te Waikoropupū Springs is known for its clarity of water and the volume of water being discharged from the eight main vents. It’s estimated 14,000 litres of water are produced per second!

Due to the fear of pest contamination no swimming or diving is allowed. In fact no touching of the water is permitted – not even to fill your drink bottle.

The lake’s floor is covered in white sand and the water that is expelled from some of the smaller vents carry the sand upwards, which is known as the ‘dancing sands’.

The track continued on alongside the river in amongst native bush. On one corner a cluster of young rimu offered a display of stunning green hues.

I was tempted to walk the track again when the path brought me back to the carpark. Now I know why this is on so many people’s ‘Must See’ list. If it’s not on yours already – I recommend you add it!


  1. Informative post and enchanting photos. Thanks for sharing. We have this on our to do list in July. Looking forward to visiting Golden Bay area.

    1. You'll love Golden Bay - it's full of amazing places to explore.

  2. It's lovely to see this-the last time I was here was in 1978!

    1. It's a very busy place now. I guess when you were there in 1978 people were allowed to dive and swim in the springs. I remember snorkelling there in the 80's.


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