On day four – Monday morning – I set off for a 50 minute drive to Blue Spring, which has water so pure it accounts for 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water.
Firstly, let me say I was proud of how easily I drove there – no wrong turns at all, despite having no sat nav. My top tip if you have no sat nav or mobile data would be to study Google Maps before you go and just jot down the route numbers you need. The main roads are very simple/few in New Zealand, then for anything touristy there will be signs to guide you at the end of the journey.
Blue Spring was absolutely beautiful, but also quite understated. The Te Waihou Walkway is a 4.7km walk between two car parks, with the Blue Spring area itself at one end. I parked there and was surprised at how suddenly I came across the pure, clear water and finally realised that was indeed Blue Spring. Wow! I’ve never seen water quite like it.
There were some beautiful spots to sit, where I perched and read a few pages of my book while I ate a sandwich. There were also huge groups of cows in fields adjoining the walkway and they weren’t too happy to see me…
I walked about halfway along the 4.7km trail, which follows the river as it winds and in places becomes rather more rapid than at the spring itself. The scenery on that route overall was just fantastic, definitely a walk worth doing. I spent about two hours there altogether.
After that, I returned to Hamilton to meet Frazer and a couple of friends and we drove to the west coast to Raglan, firstly to check out Bridal Veil Falls.
The waterfall is 55m and, while it doesn’t have the purest water since the source river flows through so much farmland, it did look pretty dramatic. The short walk through the native forest to get first to the top viewing platform and then down to the bottom was also very atmospheric – although the steps back up were slightly less enjoyable!
We then went to Raglan proper, where unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse leaving the beach rather wet and dark at 4pm. But nonetheless it was clearly a cool little surfer town, and must be a spectacular and rather unusual beach in better weather. Some kite surfers were doing their best in the difficult conditions regardless!