Leap into new Hurunui swimming holes

Hurunui Waiau residents can leap into the last months of summer knowing they’ll land in one of four newly-dug swimming holes in the region.

Two of the four sites were pre-existing, at Balmoral Reserve and on the Waiau Uwha, and were re-dug recently to further deepen them and remove the build-up of silt.

The two new sites, on the Waitohi River and at Dog Stream in Hanmer, were completed on December 17, 2019. Balmoral Reserve was completed on December 16, 2019 and the Waiau Uwha on January 1, 2020.

The aim was to have all four completed prior to Christmas, but the Waiau Uwha was delayed due to high river flows.

The swimming holes are Environment Canterbury-funded and are part of the Hurunui Splash project - led by the Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Committee - providing improved recreational opportunities for residents and tourists over the summer months.

Swimming holes a long time in the works

North Canterbury zone delivery lead Marco Cataloni said he was excited to see how the two new sites would be received by the wider public.

“This project has been in the works for a long time, so we’re glad to finally be able to announce its conclusion right as summer kicks into gear.

“Now all that’s left to do is hope it’s well-received by the Hurunui district and its visitors over the hot summer months,” he said.

The 2018-19 project which saw the first two swimming holes dug, cost about $8000. To date, the 2019-20 project, completing the two new holes, has cost about another $11,000.

Can I check the water quality before diving in?

Environment Canterbury chief scientist Dr. Tim Davie said while it is not possible to monitor every stream and river in Canterbury, the most popular swimming sites are sampled weekly, testing the quality of the water.

"We monitor over 100 popular swimming sites in Canterbury; the results are updated weekly and shown on the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website.”

The Waiau Uwha and Balmoral Reserve sites are updated throughout the summer to help inform swimmers on water quality. Some sites have historically poor water quality. It is important to check LAWA for up to date readings on quality.

For the latest information on swimming sites, check lawa.org.nz for all necessary water quality updates.

Digger at Dog StreamDog Stream is the location for a brand new swimming hole, as part of the Hurunui Splash programme.
Kids in swimming holeHenry (age 7) jumping from the log at the Waiau swimming hole on a hot summer’s day.

Where can I find these swimming holes?

Click on the maps below to see location coordinates and directions to the swimming holes. The swimming holes are marked with a red circle. 

Balmoral Reserve Swimming Hole LocationBalmoral Reserve Swimming Hole Location.
Waiau Uwha Swimming Hole LocationWaiau Uwha Swimming Hole Location.
Waitohi River Swimming Hole LocationWaitohi River Swimming Hole Location.
Dog Stream Swimming HoleDog Stream Swimming Hole.