When we told the kids we were going to visit Te Waikoropupu Springs, the giggling started.

Pupu Springs, for short, are the second clearest** in terms of horizontal visibility of any water in the world (first place goes to Blue Lake, also in New Zealand, about 90 minutes drive from Pupu). Horizontal visibility is 63 meters and the water temperature is a consistent 11.7 degrees C. The springs are fed by two separate springs, one of which releases water that has been underground for 1 year, the other water that has been underground for 10 years!

From Collingwood, we drove about 25 minutes south-east and turned onto Pupu Springs Road (commence more giggling and poop jokes).

By a stroke of luck, a friend James knew from his Christchurch tramping club, Kelly, and her sister, visiting from England for 6 weeks, had emailed saying she was also in Golden Bay and would we be interested in meeting up? Pupu Springs seemed like the perfect place.

An artistically attractive visitor kiosk at the start of the short loop trail gave us information about the science of how and why the springs formed as well as stories about the significance to the Maori people.

We walked on a boardwalk and packed earth trail, and I must say that the first body of water we passed left something to be desired…

Not crysal-clear.

As we continued on, we passed more small streams and ponds before finally reaching the Waikoropupu Springs themselves.

Sign behind Calvin reminds visitors to avoid touching the water, which is wahi tapu, or sacred.

After only a few minutes’ walk, we reached a boardwalk lookout and we could see the springs. Because the sky was blue but filled with large white and gray clouds, the visibility through the water wasn’t great; the reflection on top of the water was not smooth enough to get the full clearwater impact, which was a bit disappointing.

We walked on a bit further and saw some lovely little birds and ducks and enjoyed the sunshine. With Kelly and her sister, we revisited the information kiosk and made plans to have dinner together back at our place later.

Before getting in the car, James had the idea of walking the 5 minutes back down to the overlook to see if the sky, which had cleared slightly in the past few minutes, would allow for better visibility into the springs.

And it did!


We enjoyed looking into and across the waters–the fish we could see looked like they were floating in air!


So glad we took the few extra minutes to walk back and give the Pupu Springs another chance to blow us away!



**In an amazing coincidence (NZ is a rather small place), we stayed at a hut in Arthur’s Pass with a man who turned out to be the hydrologist responsible for determining the water clarity at Pupu Springs as well as at the Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes. He explained how he did it, which was pretty cool to hear about in person, having just been there.


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