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5 Tips for Visiting the Blue Pools | Makarora

Just 30 minutes from the roadside, these natural pools at the convergence of two beautiful wilderness rivers are a 'Must See'.

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Years ago, getting to the Blue Pools was an easy hop skip and jump from the roadside. Now days it’s a 3-kilometre round trip walk from a newly established car park. As these crystal-clear pools became more popular, parking and safety at the old entrance was tricky. Now tour busses, campervans and road tripping families have an extensive area for parking with toilet facilities and an even greater view up the meandering Makarora River. While this walk is relatively easy, there’s a few tips you should know before you go.

1. Insect repellent! Smother every millimetre of exposed skin with it. (Not your eyes though, that would hurt). The sandflies aren’t so bad while you’re on the move, but the minute you stop to admire the scenery, you will be devoured. If you prefer a home remedy rather than a concoction of chemicals, use a few drops of tea tree oil in your favourite body butter. It works.

2. Consider the season. If you’re visiting in summer, light clothing and a sunhat will be required as well as a cool drink. Always take an extra layer in case conditions change. During winter you’ll need warm waterproof gear. There is little sunlight in the bush and it can be freezing. Also, be mindful of the weather forecast.

3. Sturdy footwear. Though the track is well formed, it can be undulating in places and your feet will need good support. You’ll also be protected from any sharp objects or debris on the trail. If you want to wander along the riverbeds, sturdy shoes on the rolling rocks are a must. You can always take them off for a dip or a paddle in the summer months.

4. Swing bridges. Some people love them, others cringe at the thought! The first swing bridge crossing the Makarora River is really bouncy and narrow. Be mindful of who you’re sharing it with, especially if there are small children. The second bridge affords outstanding views up the Blue River and the water clarity is spectacular. This bridge is wider and more stable making it easier to get still images of the scenery.

5. Loads of folk like to leave their car windows down a little in the heat so they’re not returning to an uncomfortably hot vehicle. Don’t! What you’ll end up with is a nice family of sandflies who have set up camp in your car. They will feast on you all the way back to wherever you came from or are headed to! They'll drive you nuts while you’re trying to negotiate the winding wilderness roads and can be a dire distraction.

The Blue Pools Walk is definitely a NZ Must Do. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and the forest is alive with cute little birds who come to feast on the insects you disturb with your feet. The glacial rivers are magical shades of blue and the whole experience is food for the soul.

There’s a DOC camp just up the road at Cameron Flat if you want to stay and play longer. Bookings required.


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