Haast Blue Pools guide
==the cj way++
The CJ way Guide to Haast Blue Pools
AT A GLANCE
Beautiful, crystal clear blue pools that are bloody cold
Mt Aspiring National Park
Best time to visit: early morning, clear and sunny day
WHERE IS THIS EXACTLY?
Coordinates for the start of the walk: -44.164203, 169.276709
Park in the designated car park for the Blue Pools (on the highway) and walk approximately 15 minutes along the well-defined track. The track has two swing bridges (we photographed the second).
best time to visit?
Early morning on a clear and sunny day!! Coming for sunrise or sunset isn’t as beneficial as you really want to be able to see the colour of the water.
N.B - we arrived around 7:15am and there were seven cars already parked there (although do note, there is a longer hike that starts from Blue Pools). We had the place to ourselves largely until 8:30am or so. When we left (around 9am), there were 14 cars parked up and a steady stream of people starting the walk. We think 8am-ish is the absolute bee’s knees as it's quiet and sunny (so the water colour looks amazing). (P.S when we drove past the Blue Pools the day beforehand – around lunch time, the car park was completely full and there was a further 42 cars on the side of the road!!).
cj travel tips
There is no toilet at the Blue Pools so please make sure you go before visiting. (If coming from the North the closest toilet is at Cameron Flat Campsite [approx. 1km away] and if coming from the South the closest toilet is at Makarora [approx. 6km away]).
Try and time your visit for a clear and sunny day.
After rain the Blue Pools can turn grey and murky. If the gravel/dirt gets stuck, it takes a second rain to return the water to its original (and beautiful) colour. Bear this (and the forecast) in mind if you have the luxury of choosing when to visit.
cj photography tips
Make sure to arrive nice and early so you have time to play around with spots/angles without the crowds. In the early morning the light is nice and soft (making the photo a little warmer and the shadows less harsh).
As a rough guide, the sun first hits the Blue Pools approximately 1.5 hours after sunrise.
the Don't forget to bring your polarising filter to cut out the glare, and if you prefer smooth water, use an ND filter too.
If you have a GoPro or underwater camera here, swimming makes for some epic filming/photos.
what we found useful to pack
In addition to the usuals (camera gear, suitable clothing, water and food, first aid, etc. we found the following items useful for Blue Pools:
Insect repellent. Seriously this spot is up there with Milford Sound foreshore and Hokitika Gorge.
Towel and togs. And a willingness to brave the icy cold water.
N.B - no drones here!