Te Waikoropupū Springs

Top choice spring

in Takaka
Image by Michael Runkel / Getty Images
Image by Michael Runkel / Getty Images

Around 14,000L of water per second bubble up from underground vents here, making it the largest freshwater spring in the southern hemisphere. It's also among the clearest in the world. The colourful little lake is reached via a 45-minute forest loop from the car park, where there are Māori carvings and illuminating information panels.

Māori consider this a wāhi tapu (sacred place), and hence the waters are off limits to all but the local tribe who use them for healing and other ceremonies. Tradition has it that a taniwha (a kind of dinosaur-like spiritual guardian) regularly visits here.

From Takaka, head 4km northwest on SH60 and follow the signs inland for 3km from Waitapu Bridge.