"Te Waihou Walkway" Waihou by kiwi

Waihou Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 11 photos

Waihou - The most beautiful river in the world!

The picturesque Waihou River is most beautiful at it's source, not near Waihou town, but closer to the town of Putaruru.
Apparently at the main Blue Spring, the water comes from the ground at a rate of 42 cubic metres per minute (9240 gallons per minute). They say it takes from 50 - 100 years for the water to get to the spring from the Mamaku Plateau! I have no idea what it does along the way :-)
I have read that 67% of New Zealand's bottled water comes from this spring.

A public walkway, approx 5 kilometers long, has been developed with a local programme developing restoration and regeneration of wetland and native plantings. Normal time is 1.5 hours oneway, average walking speed.
Accessible from State Hwy 28 (White's Road) between Tauranga and Putaruru.
If you only have short time, the most beautiful area is at the Leslie Road end, so park your car there. Walk to the Loop track and return to Leslie Rd.

I have made some tips about the town of Waihou as well.

The Track is mostly flat walking with one area of steps through the gorge. Regular walking shoes are adequate although in wet conditions your feet with likely get damp.
The Walkway is open year-round.


I read that the wonderful clarity and blue colour of the water is because of it's high optical purity. Essentially the water seems so intensely blue because it absorbs the red light. This leaves the blue and green light visible. The water temperature remains a constant 11 degs Celsius most of the time.
Pure natural water such as this, has very little particles and absorbing constituents. Therefore the light is not dispersed nor absorbed as much as most rivers. These particles are cleansed from the water as it spends all those years underground, filtering through to the surface eventually.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The native bush and the gorgeous blue blue water.
  • Cons:The fish are so hard to hook, and I ran out of film!!
  • In a nutshell:The Waihou River has beauty never seen before.
  • Last visit to Waihou: Mar 2011
  • Intro Updated May 6, 2013
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Reviews (8)

Comments (20)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Happy New Year, Pam! It’s unusual to find a place with such pure water. No wonder they bottle so much of it.

  • themajor's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2008 at 12:12 AM

    Ah the joys of the composting earth box toilet! I have used one myself but never in such a wild and romantic location. It's situation would suggest that it's difficult to sneak to without anyone else noticing. Is it also ringed by electric fences?!

  • spitball's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2006 at 5:35 PM

    That is a clear river, beautiful. Good tip about the fence. Some day I hope to see this place for myself. Now I'm going to look up air NZ insignia, you've got me curious ;)

  • okinawa_wave's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2006 at 2:59 AM

    Amazingly beautiful! My wife and I were in New Zealand a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Didn't know about Waihou, so now we definitely have to go back! Thanks for sharing these photos and tips...

  • bebe2003's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2005 at 5:25 AM

    magic river! Thanks for sharing

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2005 at 9:06 AM

    Truly an amazingly beautiful spot with its lush vegetation and unusual water colour!! Electric fences - I remember a jolt or two myself from an Uncle's farm! Your 'koru' remind me of our 'fiddleheads' - great to boil and eat!!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2005 at 11:07 PM

    Beautiful nature - and these colors are just out of this world ! I never have seen fern trees before, they look so magic :-)

  • EllenH's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2005 at 6:08 PM

    beautiful indeed.

  • Feb 23, 2005 at 1:42 PM

    Is the water very cold and does it come from deep underground?

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2005 at 1:37 PM

    The water is very cold it comes from deep underground.


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