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Ultimate Guide to the Blue Pools Near Wanaka,  New Zealand (2023)

Ultimate Guide to the Blue Pools Near Wanaka, New Zealand (2023)

A quick guide for visiting the incredible Blue Pools near Wanaka, New Zealand. A short, yet scenic walk along the Blue Pools Walking Track reveals a turquoise swimming area that is the perfect place to cool off near Wanaka.

The Blue Pools of New Zealand has now become one of the most famous swimming spots in the country. Located in the Mount Aspiring National Park in the Otago Region, the Blue Pools are a perfect day trip from Wanaka or the West Coast.

After completing the Mount Fox route hike for sunrise, we were desperate to get clean and wash off. Since we were driving to Wanaka, it made perfect sense to stop by the Blue Pools swimming area.

Here is a quick guide on how to get here and what you might expect at the Blue Pools New Zealand.

Where are the Blue Pools in New Zealand?

The famous New Zealand Blue Pools are located approximately one hour's drive from Wanaka along state Highway 6 in Otago (between Franz Josef & Wanaka).

The closest town is 8 km away and is known as Makarora. The blue river which feeds the pools goes by the same name.

The Blue Pools are located approximately 72 km from the township of Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand.

The blue pools swimming area, Mount Aspiring National Park

How to Get to the Blue Pools

Unfortunately, the Blue Pools are a fair distance away from the nearby tourist hub of Wanaka. As a result, if you want to experience the pristine turquoise mountain waters, you'll need a form of transport.

Below are some options for reaching the car park. There are plenty of signs on the Highway, and the car park is huge - you won't miss it. However, if you have trouble, you can easily just plug in the nearby "Cameron Flat Campsite", which is just nearby.

1. Blue Pools from the West Coast

The State Highway 6 leads from Haast on the West Coast back down to Wanaka. The Blue Pools car park is located about 55 minutes (70 km) away.

2. Getting to the Blue Pools from Wanaka

As mentioned, you'll need to drive a similar distance of 72 km from Wanaka to reach the Blue Pools.

Unfortunately, there is no direct public transport from Wanaka to the Blue Pools. However, it's possible to take the bus to the Makarora Country Cafe and then hitch or take a taxi to the Blue Pools.

3. Blue Pools Track from Queenstown

Travelers making their way to the pools from Queenstown can expect a 2-hour drive, a distance of around 135 kilometers following the State Highway 6.

Don't Miss: Ben Lomond Hike in Queenstown

Mount Aspiring National Park from the Blue Pools car park


Blue Pools Walking Track

  • Walk Length: 3 km return
  • Duration: 1 hour return (more time to swim)

The Blue Pools track begins just beside the public toilet facilities at the end of the Blue Pools car park.

This walking track is rated as one of the best and most popular walks in Otago. The mostly-flat walk winds through mature beech and podocarp forest, crossing the Makarora River along two suspension bridges hanging over incredible turquoise water.

Blue Pools Swing Bridge
Blue Pools swimming area
peter's lookout drive we seek travel

Tip: How to Get Around in New Zealand

Rent a car! New Zealand is very safe for motorists & driving is the best way to explore the country.

Make sure to book in advance using a comparison site like DiscoverCars to get the best deals. Or, if you want a camper, my favourite in NZ is Spaceships.

Related: Roy's Peak Hike Near Wanaka

Swimming at the Blue Pools

There are several opportunities for a quick swim at the Blue Pools. In fact, there's a great spot at a calm section of the river as early as a minute or two along the walking track.

However, the best place for swimming at the Blue Pools is at the pools itself. The dreamy, blue glacial waters pool underneath a picturesque swing bridge. On a clear day, the sun warms the shale mountain rock edging the pool which makes for the perfect place to lay down, relax and enjoy the scenery.

Be warned, the water is absolutely freezing! Still, swimming in the glacial waters of the Blue Pools is definitely one for the memory bank!

Swimming at the Blue Pools New Zealand
Blue Pools near Wanaka New Zealand

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I hope that you found this quick guide to visiting the Blue Pools near Wanaka useful. If you have any questions or updates, please let other travelers know by leaving a comment below.

For now, why not get some more travel inspiration and ideas by reading more guides for things to do near Wanaka and the West Coast. Alternatively, start with this hiking guide to the South Island's best hikes!

Blue Pools in New Zealand