Rotorua boasts a geothermal wonderland and the attractions are truly breathtaking. From bubbling mud pools to erupting geysers, we've listed just a few of the places you can experience nature's marvels here in Rotorua.
POLYNESIAN SPA ROTORUA
Located just across the road from Sudima Lake Rotorua, the Polynesian Spa complex boasts no less than 27 hot pools, including the family spa, adult-only pools and private pools. Read more here
Hells Gate, as the name suggests, features remarkable and other worldly formations, including New Zealand's largest active mud volcano and largest boiling whirlpool. Read more here
Wai-o-Tapu is a 'must-see' geothermal field. Experience the world-famous Champagne Pool, which covers 3000 square meters and is in fact, a 700-year-old explosion crater. The pool overflows with steaming hot water that is the colour of champagne, while carbon dioxide bubbles to the surface. There is so much unusual beauty to behold at Wai-o-Tapu, as well as demonstrations of the power of nature, such as the Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts 20 feet into the air.
Mount Tarawera erupted violently in 1886, spewing out hot mud, scorching rock and black ash. The devastating eruption (heard over 500 kilometres away), buried Maori villages in mud and ash, destroyed the world-famous Pink and White Terraces, and created a monolithic crater in the mystical mountain.
Today, you can take a scenic flight over the crater and see the chain of beautiful lakes created by the eruption, or join a guided 4WD climb to the sacred, remote summit where you can experience the famous Scree Slide into the crater. Alternatively, you can drive to the buried village, one of NZ's most visited historic sites.
Take a scenic lake cruise or a jet boat ride to Orakei Korako - the Hidden Valley. Orakei Korako was recently described by Lonely Planet as "arguably the best thermal area left in NZ".
Orakei Korako is one of nature's true gifts; you can discover a landscape unlike any other. Breath-taking natural beauty and lush native forest opens up to reveal steaming hot springs, erupting geysers, boiling mud pools and mammoth silica terraces - some of the largest in the world. One of the most marvellous features of Orakei Korako is the Ruatapu ('sacred hole') Cave, which is 120 feet deep with a natural hot pool at the bottom.
WAIMANGU VOLCANIC VALLEY
When Mount Tarawera erupted, the earth was opened along a 17km line and formed (amongst many other marvels) seven craters that we now call the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. It is an unspoilt and multi-award winning eco-tourism destination, home to such wonders as the Echo Crater, the amazing Warbrick Terrace, Inferno Crater and Frying Pan Lake - the world's largest hot spring.