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October 2013 Issue
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Hamurana time

Boys jumping into Hamurana Springs from the viewing platform. Photo: Pat Barrett Image
30-40 minutes
Signposted on Hamurana Road on the north side of Lake Rotorua

Hamurana Springs Walk, Hamurana Recreation Reserve, Rotorua

Noted as the deepest natural spring in the North Island, Hamurana Springs, along the northern side of Lake Rotorua, and its network of peaceful trails through both native forest and a magnificent stand of exotic redwoods is a special place for a short hike, picnic or just to chill-out, literally, in the 10°C waters of the spring and Hamurana Stream.

Access is delightfully easy from the roadside car parking area where you can follow the streamside track through ponga stands, toi tois, cabbage trees, and native seedlings until the mighty redwood grove is reached. These massive wooden giants rise skyward appearing like rockets about to be launched, their massive furrowed trunks ramrod straight. Only when directly beside the trees can you fully appreciate just how big and tall they are. The grove is quite extensive and is a delight to explore.

Beyond this, the track drops to the streamside once more where the crystal clear nature of the water is astounding, that and its vibrant colours of aquamarine and emerald green make for a unique visual spectacle.

Onwards goes the trail, climbing a hillock where tree ferns dominate and you can finally peer directly down into the gaping maw of the spring. Bubbling up from a 15m deep, dark hole in the streambed, roughly the size of a backyard paddling pool, the waters then flow away along a shallow canyon to reach the open stream bed outside.

There is a platform here, constructed right beside the spring, from which the hardy might choose to enter the spring itself – that’s not me or my girls on this occasion, but a group of boys are making the most of the opportunity and are jumping in and trying to retrieve some of the coins glittering below in the depths. With remarkable ability they do manage to bring some up, but the larger denominations are deeper still and prove too elusive.

They are certainly keen and most of them give it several tries until they are chilled to the bone and rush off chattering through the trees to reach the sun once more. Heading on we briefly explored the terrace above the springs before returning along our inward path, passing through the redwoods again to reach the streamside trail and spacious car park area, where there’s just enough time to dip our feet into the cooling waters of the spring-fed stream – but not for long.