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Blue Spring from Whites Road

Putaruru, Waikato, New Zealand 2023


As an alpine lake enthusiast, I am constantly scouring AllTrails, Google Maps, and the internet for my next epic wander to breathtaking bodies of water. From jaw-dropping waterfalls to gorgeous hues to crystal clarity, there's just something about water that captivates me.

And, let's be real for a minute, the great Pacific Northwest (PNW) has hikes that check all these boxes.

Epic waterfall? Check.

Bluest lake ever? Check.

Clarity to the bottom? Check.

I cross a hike off my list only to have 3 more take its place - I swear my to be hiked list is a hydra.

When I started planning our whirlwind trip to New Zealand (4 days), the only thing Tim asked to do was Hobbiton. I looked at a few different tours out of Auckland, but quickly determined that it would be more cost effective to rent a car and book directly with Hobbiton. I almost feel like I had a hidden agenda when I presented this to Tim... wheels in New Zealand = easy access to my growing list of hikes! Win-Win!

After booking our rental car and early morning Hobbiton tour, I turned to the internet and AllTrails to explore hiking options for the afternoon, and found a clear (see what I did there 😅) winner: Blue Spring

The Te Waihou Walkway, which provides access to the Blue Spring and viewing platform, follows alongside the Waihou River. The track (New Zealand's term for trail) winds through wetlands, across rolling pastures, and past small waterfalls until you reach the turquoise water of the spring. Recognized as one of the purest water sources in the world, the Blue Spring supplies around 70 percent of New Zealand's bottled water.



Length: 4.95 miles

Elevation Gain: 509 feet Max Elevation: 495 feet

Route Type: Out and Back

AllTrails Difficulty: Moderate

Pups: You'll need to leave pups at home



There are two different tracks to Blue Spring along the Te Waihou Walkway: one from Whites Road and a much shorter option from Leslie Road. I tend to always lean towards the longer option for multiple reasons and would like to say that the main reason is spending more time in nature, but it's really my false sense of hope that there will be fewer people on the longer option. Unfortunately, the section of Te Waihou Walkway from Blue Spring to Leslie Road was temporarily closed while we were there, so we only had one option.

I downloaded the navigation for Blue Spring via Te Waihou Walkway from Whites Road from AllTrails, but the trail is so well maintained (and trafficked) that navigation isn't necessary.

Trail Popularity: this is a very popular trail. While we didn't necessarily get an early start, we were still able to find a parking spot in the parking lot when we arrived. Returning back to the parking lot, it was completely full with overflow parking along both shoulders of Whites Road. I also recognized several groups of people from brief encounters at Hobbiton (which has tours that leave every 15 minutes). If you are looking for a trail off the beaten path and away from other people, this is not the trail for you, sorry!



The easiest way to get to the Blue Spring trailhead via Whites Road is to use the navigation system of your choice with your destination set as Te Waihou (Whites Road) Car Park. Parking is free within the decent-sized parking lot and along the shoulders of Whites Road. Pit toilets are located both in the parking lot, at the viewing platform, and several spots along the walkway.



This trail exceeded all expectations. The serenity and brilliance of the Waihou River was mesmerizing. Watching the color of the water change from clear (lacking a hue) to turquoise to blue, but still maintaining a crystal clear clarity made this wander along a river a truly memorable experience. It would be easy to spend hours basking in the serenity of Blue Spring, especially with a picnic 😘

As always, please practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you pack in... maybe this was what truly took my breath away, the care and respect shown to the land. There were no orange peels, no toilet paper, no random food wrappers, no off-trail social trails... no trace.



 Darcy Wanders 



Welcome to Darcy Wanders! I'm Darcy, the wanderer and writer for all things Darcy Wanders.

I love hiking, camping, paddling, and wandering new places! When I'm not wandering, I turn to books, puzzles, and dreaming up plans for my next epic adventure.

I believe the outdoors is for everyone and created Darcy Wanders as a way to share incredible hikes, gear recommendations, and educate on things such as trail etiquette and leave no trace principles. 

happy wandering!

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