Wai O Tapu Rotorua Cropped

Rotorua’s Top 3 Geothermal Attractions

Image of the Champagne Pools at Wai-O-Tapu Rotorua

Champagne Pools at Wai-O-Tapu, Rotorua

We’ve already taken a look at some of Rotorua’s best non-geothermal attractions so now we’re going to take the chance to look at three of the best geothermal attractions to visit when you’re next in Rotorua. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to go and what you want to see so hopefully our top three list will give you some great options and make sure you don’t miss out on any geothermal goodness!

1.      Wai-O-Tapu

This one is definitely a favourite of many of the guests that stay with us at the Lake Rotorua Hotel and Four Canoes Hotel. Whilst it will take you around 30 minutes to drive out there from downtown Rotorua, we think it’s well worth the trip. Wai-O-Tapu features a number of exhilarating mud pools, geysers and sulphur pools and the major attractions are all easily accessible although there is a small amount of climbing on a well laid out path. For the more adventurous, you can head further into this geothermal wonderland where the path gets steeper and there are quite a lot of steps to negotiate. The main attraction is without a doubt the champagne pool (pictured) which is simply stunning as it takes on the colours of orange and green. If you get your timings right, you can also marvel at the sheer power and force of the Lady Know Geyser that goes off once a day – check out their website for timings.

2.      Hell’s Gate (Tikitere)

Image from Geothermal Pools at Hell's Gate, Rotorua

Geothermal pools at Hell’s Gate, Rotorua

Hell’s Gate is possibly Rotorua’s most famous geothermal attraction and a good alternative to the drive out to Wai-O-Tapu. The attraction boasts 50 acres of mud pools, geysers and hot springs and can is also home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot-water waterfall. There is a free shuttle that runs from downtown Rotorua to Hell’s Gate and bookings are recommended, especially during the peak seasons. The site is treasured by the Maori who have lived at Hell’s Gate Tikitere for over 700 years. Hell’s Gate is New Zealand’s only Maori owned thermal park and as well as getting to see some amazing geothermal attractions, you also get to learn a lot about Maori culture and history.

3.      Waimangu

Image of a geothermal pool at Waimangu, Rotorua

Geothermal pool at Waimangu, Rotorua

Waimangu volcanic valley is one of the world’s youngest geothermal systems and as well as the opportunity to check out some great attractions, Waimangu also offers up some great walking trails so if you want to get out and stretch the legs, then this is perfect. You can take your pick from a range of site-seeing tours and nature walks through pristine New Zealand bush or relax on a cruise of beautiful Lake Rotomahana. Waimangu means ‘black water’ in Maori and the geothermal area was created following the devastating 1886 Tarawera eruption, the same eruption that buried the Pink and White Terraces, at the time known as the eighth wonder of the world.

Bonus tip

4.      Te Puia

Image of Pohutu Geyser eruption with a rainbow over, Te Puia, Rotorua

Pohutu Geyser eruption with a rainbow over, Te Puia, Rotorua

If you are looking for something a bit closer to town, Te Puia is a great option with over 60 hectares of geothermal wonder and situated just 5 minutes from downtown Rotorua. Te Puia is a living Maori cultural centre and is situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. As well as some spectacular geothermal attractions, the park is also home to a kiwi enclosure, giving you the chance to see these rare birds up close. The world-famous Pohutu Geyser is also located in the park. Te Puia is another opportunity to learn more about the rich Maori heritage of the area as well as seeing some of the amazing geothermal wonders.

Whatever you do in Rotorua, there are some great options and some amazing places to visit.