Not far from Putaruru, the Te Waihou walkway leads to the Blue Spring, which supplies 70% of NZ’s bottled water.
42 cubic metres per minute of the clearest water I have ever seen bubbles up from underground after supposedly spending 100 years flowing from the Mamaku Plateau. Because there are almost no impurities, the water is a deep blue colour. It can be drunk without treatment and tastes great.
The walkway is very popular with tourists and rightly so, as follows this pretty river for almost 5 km through attractive farm land. We stopped to watch native trout in a big pool, which impressed a group of Chinese that we pointed them out to.
When we arrived at the spring itself, we jumped in for a swim even though the water is only 11 degrees. I tried to dive down to the bottom of the main inlet, but I suffered a painful brain freeze and had to abandon the attempt.
On the way back we collected a bag of water cress to enjoy with our lunch.
Next time you buy a bottle of water, perhaps it will be the bit we swam in!