The Pupu Hydro Walkway begins 9 km from Takaka at the end of Pupu Valley Road. Follow the road towards Te Waikoropupu Springs, turning off to the right just before the bridge crossing Waikoropupu River.
The Pupu Hydro Walkway retraces an old gold-mining water race, which has been reused for power generation. Although the climb to the water race line is a little steep, the first section, across Waikoropupu River to the power station is an easy grade suitable for all ages.
Beyond the power station the track crosses another creek then zigzags uphill for about 20 minutes. From here the track levels out and follows the race 'upstream' for a short distance to a lookout point above the power station. From here on you follow a boardwalk along side the water race
It is best to keep an eye on the kids and carry small children in a backpack; parts of the race are quite high and the water race is swift flowing. The water race, which follows the steep contours of the hillside and is part canal and part aquaduct, was an engineering masterpiece for its time. If you look carefully in the water you might see large koura (freshwater crayfish).
Follow the race for 30 minutes or so to the weir (the water intake), which marks the end of the walkway and is a beautiful picnic spot. The weir channels water from the creek into the race; a large shutter was raised or lowered to vary the amount of water taken from the stream. The Hydro Society 4WD vehicle access track from the weir makes the walkway a loop walk (50 min) back to the carpark.
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