Visiting Te Waikoropupu Springs in New Zealand
From time to time I look back with amazement at some of the places I have been. Growing up I dreamed of visiting exotic places and iconic sights like the Great Wall, Eiffel Tower and Angkor Wat. Thankfully I have been able to visit so many of the places on my bucket list with many more to go.
Of course any traveler can tell you that those iconic sights are great, but the most memorable places are often ones you have never heard of. During our visit to New Zealand a few years ago, we saw such places on a daily basis.
From glaciers to caves and countless waterfalls, the beauty of New Zealand amazed us day after day. While we saw countless unique locales during our three week visit, one place still stands out in my mind. That place is Te Waikoropupu Springs. (Pupu Springs for short.)
Pupu Springs are located in a sparsely inhabited area of New Zealand’s north island. I had read about the springs in a guidebook which described the water as being the clearest outside of Antartica. That description was enough to lure us out to see the springs, but if I’m being honest, I was expecting to be underwhelmed. After all, isn’t clear water sort of a party trick?
Of course then we actually arrived at the springs and my jaw dropped to the floor. The clarity of the water was beyond anything I had ever seen. Since humans aren’t allowed to interact with the water, we slowly made our way around a 30 minute pedestrian loop, staring at the crystal clear water in a mesmerized state before heading back to our car.
While the clarity of the water is evident in photos, for some reason they simply don’t do it justice. Clear water seems like a simple thing, but it really isn’t. Suddenly while walking through the springs it became evident to me why this place is holy to the Maori. The clear water somehow represents purity and life in a way that I cannot describe.
We had been on the road about 8 months straight when we visited Pupu Springs. Day after day of travel can start to wear on you after awhile, but seeing a place like Pupu Springs is what almost forces you to go on. Pupu Springs and small places like it are what keep travel exciting. There are only so many iconic sights, but there are thousands of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.