Te Waikoropupu Springs – Takaka, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

Located in Golden Bay on New Zealand’s South Island, the Te Waikoropupu Springs (“Pupu Springs”) are known for both the clarity of the water they hold and the volume of water discharged.

The horizontal visibility of the water in the area has been measured at an average of 63 meters, which is a world record for fresh water. This value, verified using specialist optical instruments, approaches the theoretical maximum for optically pure water.

The springs are notable for the volume of water discharged from the eight main vents, ranking among the largest in the world. It is estimated that 14,000 liters of water are produced per second, approximately enough to fill 40 bathtubs. In a 1974 television documentary, it was noted that this would be enough water to supply a city the size of Boston, Massachusetts.

The floor of the lake is covered with white sand. Waters expelled from some of the smaller vents carry the sand upward. These vents are known as the dancing sands, which for the few scuba divers who have secured permission to dive in the springs, is one of the highlights of underwater sightseeing.

At the entrance to the walkway to the springs, the Department of Conservation in New Zealand has placed a sign: “Te Waikoropupu Springs are a taonga (treasure) and waahi tapu (a sacred place) for Māori, both locally and nationally. The legends of Te Waikoropupu are told in the stories of Huriawa, its taniwha (guardian spirit). In Māori tradition the Springs are wairou, the purest form of water which is the wairua (spiritual) and the physical source of life. The Springs provide water for healing, and in the past were a place of ceremonial blessings at times of birth and death and the leaving and returning of travelers.”

Know Before You Go

Head out of west out of Takaka and you will the sign. You can't miss it!

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