Te Waihou Walkway
1 hr 30 min one way
4.7 km (one way) plus 0.5 km loop track
The walkway ranges from easy walking to steeper areas in places with stiles and steps, with boardwalk/wobbly walks constructed through wetland areas. A loop track provides views over a stunning area of the river and access to the northern bank via two footbridges.
The walk goes through areas of restoration and regeneration of wetland and native plantings, and crosses rolling pastoral land beside the river. Small waterfalls set amongst native bush add to the area's scenic beauty, and trout are plentiful.
From Rotorua drive on SH 5 west towards Tirau, take the Putaruru turning on Whites road (SH 28). The downstream entrance at the Whites road layby is just past Leslie road. The Blue Spring end is 3.6 km along Leslie road.
About the area
Blue Spring, Waihou River
Te Waihou Walkway lies alongside the upper reaches of the Waihou River, where the water is extremely clear and pure, with an intense blue hue.
The Waihou River is fed by many springs and from tributary streams in the Mamaku ranges. Water flows from the Blue Spring at a rate of 42 cubic metres per minute (9240 gallons per minute).
The Blue Spring is internationally acclaimed, with water from the Mamaku Plateau taking over 100 years to reach it. During this long residence in aquifers, particles and light-absorbing matter are effectively removed from the water, leaving it with a very high clarity and characteristic blue-green colour. The water is sold in service stations around New Zealand and supplies the local town of Putaruru, with no treatment necessary before distribution.
Plan and prepare
You need to be well prepared when tramping on conservation land, especially on the longer, day walks. Ensure you have strong comfortable boots, warm clothing, a good raincoat, first aid kit, food and drink, a hat and sunscreen. It is also advisable to leave your tramping intentions with a responsible person, in case you get lost.
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