Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland – a place where geysers erupt dramatically 100 feet into the air, hot mud bubbles and boils, steam hisses as it escapes from deep in the earth and natural mineral pools are commonplace.
The eruptions and activity of towering volcanoes, now dormant, have formed and reformed some of the most spectacular landscapes in New Zealand and indeed the world.
A chain of sparkling lakes, teeming with fat Trout, are another of the beautiful effects of this volcanic activity.
Many of Rotorua’s attractions and leisure activities are based around the effects of this volcanic activity. You can relax in pools of natural hot mineral water, wrap yourself in warm mud, see geysers shooting jets of scalding water into the sky, view the mighty crater of Mount Tarawera (who erupted with devastating power in 1886) and so much more.
Orakei Korako, the Hidden Valley, has been described by the Lonely Planet guide as one of the finest thermal areas in the world. Here, in isolation from the outside world, you can walk through a hidden valley of colour, hot springs, gushing geysers and breath-taking natural beauty. Each day, 20 million litres of water a day flow over silica terraces. Access to the ‘Hidden Valley’ is by a short ferry trip across Lake Ohakuri.
Hells Gate is New Zealand’s only mud bath complex with geothermal mud and therapeutic water. Wander through the park to remarkable formations, New Zealand’s largest active mud volcano and largest boiling whirlpool. You’ll also see the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere and so much more.
After your walk, you can ‘take the waters’ of Tikitere, soaking in the beautifully soft natural thermal pools. You can also bathe in a glorious mud spa or treat yourself to a facial using the finest geothermal mud (a wonder for the skin). Hells Gate is located just a five minute drive from our holiday park and transport is available to and from Hells Gate if you require.
Another place to go to experience natural thermal bathing is Waikite Valley. Wash away all your stresses, aches and pains in the splash pool or the hotter ‘sit and soak’ pool (up to 40 degrees Celsius). After your swim, you can stroll along the Te Manaroa Spring walkway to the largest single source of boiling water in New Zealand.
Wai-o-Tapu is another ‘must see’ on your visit to Rotorua. A number of walks will take you on an unforgettable journey through amazing geothermal activity. See the Champagne Pool – unique in the world, this is a fifth of a hectare of bubbling, hissing water with a beautiful ochre-coloured petrified edge. Experience the raw beauty and sheer power of Mother Nature as the Lady Knox Geyser erupts, reaching heights of 20 feet.
Polynesian Spa was voted as one of the top ten spas in the world by Condé Nast Traveller in 2004 and in 2005. Bathe in hot mineral bathing pools overlooking Lake Rotorua and take the opportunity to experience one of Polynesian Spa’s unique spa therapies in a peaceful setting.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
When Mount Tarawera erupted and destroyed the surrounding area, the earth was opened along a 17km line, splitting Mount Tarawera in two, exploding Lake Rotomahana to 20 times its original size and forming seven craters that today make up the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley (a multi-award winning eco-tourism destination) to witness Echo Crater and Frying Pan Lake – the world’s largest hot water spring. See the beautiful Warbrick Terrace and Inferno crater – the world’s largest geyser-like feature. Take a one or two hour walking tour to get really close to these dramatic natural wonders, or relax on board a Boat Cruise and view the geothermal sights as you hear the amazing history of this area.
Imagine standing on a living, breathing, active volcano – in the middle of the ocean, the mainland just a blur on the horizon. Welcome to White Island – New Zealand’s giant of the sea. Board a Peejay Tours boat and journey to White Island (you’ll often encounter dolphins along the way!) where you’ll be given a gas mask and other safety equipment. Peer into crater lakes, catch the volcano in on of her many moods, see towering steam column and the bizarre colours of this almost moon-like landscape, marvel at the relics from a doomed mining village…