About 15-20 minutes North of Rotorua Central is a stunning walk along the crystal-clear water of Hamurana Springs and the Redwoods Memorial Grove. The easy loop trail takes about a 1/2 hour to walk, or in our case it can be much longer (especially if you likewise want to stop and admire the stunning colors and take a lot of photos)!
We entered the stroller-friendly trail by first heading into the Redwood Grove. The placard stated:
Waiariki is the traditional name for this area. The redwood trees planted here are coastal redwoods (Sequoia), a species native to a coastal strip of the Pacific Coast of North America, beginning in southern Oregon and ending just south of Monterrey, California.
The Redwoods were planted in 1919, which makes them babies compared to their counterparts in North America. It was such a pleasure to enjoy this taste of home, 6500+ miles away from our Redwoods in Oregon!
From the Redwoods Grove, we then walked to Te Puna-a-Hangarua, the head spring (the largest in the North Island). This Spring Water has from the Mamaku plateau through underground aquifers, and then gushes out of this Spring after a journey that has taken 70 years!
There is enough water coming out of this spring to fill two Olympic sized pools each day-a rate of about four million litres of water per hour.
Apparently, in 1957 some divers from Wellington entered this Spring’s opening and recovered over 5000 pennies dating from 1860, which were then distributed to children’s charities.
We did not encourage our children to throw in pennies, OR go diving–Instead, they admired the vibrant blue color of the Spring opening, among the backdrop of New Zealand’s mossy trees.
The rock here is volcanic in origin, and the water is so incredibly crystal clear that you can see every detail in the water.
After oohing and aahing, we continued along the trail
As always, ferns and fern trees abounded…and I couldn’t help but try to capture the fuzzy unfurling of a fiddlehead fern frond! I don’t know what kind of fern this was, but I learned that the silver fern (or ponga in Māori) is a species of medium-sized tree fern, endemic to New Zealand. It is one of the most classic symbols of New Zealand, and can be found in many areas throughout both islands!
There is another Spring on this walk called “Dancing Sands Spring”, which you quickly realize is named due to the “dancing sand” under the water, where the springs are bubbling up from underground. It looks like bubbling sand, but is not hot or dangerous–it just dances!
The trail crossed over the stream, and brings you headed back on the loop towards the beginning–albeit on the opposite side of the stream this time. You can look across the water and see the Redwood Grove (seen in the background here) and the first part of the loop trail:
The second part of the trail is much less dense, and we found ourselves in an open area without the cover of trees. I sadly didn’t have a filter on my camera to better photograph the water, so I could capture just how stunning it was.
As always, our girls had to do some gymnastics…
Fortunately, a nearby shady area of trees made photographing the water a cinch–there was no reflection to hide the spectacular color of the water/sand!
The is SERIOUSLY the color!!!
The last part of the loop trail was wide open, with a field on the right hand side, and a hidden view of the Spring on the left.
I would have loved to just turn back around at this point, and go right back on the trail the way I came! But Jared urged us forward—as there were more things to discover in Rotorua.
The truth of the matter is that I would have loved to do that simple walking trail every day of the 3 months I was in New Zealand. It will go down in history as being one of the most stunning and beautiful walks I have ever been on. If you have any extra time in Rotorua, please do yourself a favor and make the 30-45 minute roundtrip drive to come see and walk this hidden gem!