The sacred waters of Te Puna o Riuwaka - Riuwaka Resurgence

An 11km on-road detour from the Great Taste Trail at Riwaka brings you to Te Puna o Riuwaka. Te Puna is the Māori word meaning spring of water, and Riuwaka is the river.

It is described as a resurgence, a river that goes underground and re-emerges though a cliff face.

Te Puna o Riuwaka is where the northern branch of the Riuwaka River emerges from the Takaka Hill into a deep, very cold, crystal-clear pool.

The people of Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Rārua consider Te Puna o Riuwaka wahi tapu, ‘a sacred, supernatural place where our tupuna would come to cleanse and heal their bodies and sustain their spirits’*

A beautifully carved waharoa (entrance) depicts both iwi and welcomes visitors to respectfully experience the sacred waters and lush native forest.

You can park bikes in the car park and walk the easy five minutes up to the resurgence, where you might be mistaken for thinking you are in a fairly wonderland.

The car park area is adjacent to a picnic area and swimming hole where you can enjoy an hour or three lazing in the sun, or under the shade. The area is sheltered, so it can be very hot in summer, and very cold in winter.

As a cyclist, just remember it’s a 22km return trip from Riwaka, so you will need to allow a good couple of hours to taste this natural and cultural experience.

*Source: Healing Waters,