Our Top Four Rotorua Geothermal Attractions

A few of the awesome Rotorua Canopy Tours team got out of the forest and office to check out our favourite Rotorua geothermal attractions. Geothermal activity is what makes Rotorua so special and unique with each attraction having their own distinct features. However, they all have one thing in common, they each have some form of fascinating geothermal activity.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Our superstar back office ladies, Pip and Alex spent their Monday morning visiting Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The 2 hour self-guided walk they went on was surrounded by native trees and plants. The walk took Pip and Alex around the landscape features that were discovered or formed after the 1886 Mt Tarawera Volcanic Eruption. They were given an information sheet that explains what the feature is and the history. Pip and Alex saw that there were three bus stops along the way but they stopped at the second bus stop to return back to reception.

Along the self-guided walk they saw some impressive blue crater lakes. Inferno crater has a unique connection with the Frying Pan Lake. Inferno Crater would fill up and spill over into Frying Pan Lake and then fill up again. Pip and Alex found it really interesting! They said the silica terraces were very impressive and the information card informed them that some are at least 60,000 years old.

Pip and Alex’s favourite stop: Pip and Alex’s favourite stop was at the Warbrick Terrace. It is a green and orange water silica platform, they thought it looked amazing and was like nothing they had ever seen before!

waimanguPhoto: The Warbrick Terrace coloured Green and Orange at Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo Credit: Rotorua Canopy Tours

How to get to there: It is about a half hours drive to Waimangu Volcanic Valley from Rotorua. Here are the directions from the Rotorua iSite to Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

Hells Gate

Hells Gate is another one of our awesome Rotorua geothermal attractions that our guides, Shanyn and Spencer went and checked out. This attraction is home to New Zealand’s largest active mud volcano and the Southern Hemispheres largest hot waterfall!

There are so many unique features at Hells Gate that Shanyn and Spencer got to see! There is a pool called the ‘cooking pool’ that was historically used to cook food. It smells of sulphur and it’s black but it doesn’t taint the taste of the food. The Inferno area has 5 separate pools that are up to heats of 110 degrees. At Hells Gate the heat source is only 1km deep compared to other attractions that are 5-6km under the surface.

Shanyn & Spencer’s favourite part: Shanyn’s favourite part of the experience was soaking in the mud bath while admiring the stunning view of native plants and geothermal activity. Along the self-guided walk, Spencer loved seeing the Kakahi Falls. The waterfall is about 40 degrees – which is a temperature of a comfortable hot shower. Back in the day the Maori warriors used it to bathe and clean themselves when they returned. Spencer said it really was amazing to see!

How to get there: It is about a 15 minute drive East of Rotorua heading towards Whakatane. Here are the directions from Rotorua iSite to Hells Gate.

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderalnd 

Our awesome kiwi guides, Scott and Rebecca had the chance to visit the beautiful Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. When they first arrived at Waiotapu they met their friendly staff, who advised them what walking route would be best suited. They then drove 3 minutes down to the Lady Knox Geyser that goes off once a day at 10:15am. A guide talks about the history of the geyser and then it shoots up to 20 metres high. Scott and Rebecca drove back up to reception where they began their 75 minute self-guided walk following sign posts and tracks.

Along the way they came across the Champagne pool, which is a natural blue, green and orange hot spring. Scott and Rebecca both thought it was absolutely amazing! There was bubbling mud and steam coming from the ground everywhere they looked around the thermal wonderland!

Scott & Rebecca’s favourite part: Scott loved that the self-guided walk was surrounded by natural bush while seeing some of New Zealand’s most unique landscapes. Rebecca really enjoyed seeing the large mud pool. It used to be a large mud volcano that was destroyed through erosion in the 1920’s. But now it’s one of the best Rotorua geothermal attractions to see and to hear the sounds of erupting mud.


Photo: The Champagne Pool at Waiotapu – One of our favourite Rotorua geothermal attractions. Photo Credit: http://mustdonewzealand.co.nz

How to get there: Head south of Rotorua towards Taupo before turning left onto Waiotapu Loop Road. Find the directions here from Rotorua iSite to Waiotapu.

Te Puia 

Canopy Tours guide Kris spent one of his days off at Te Puia with his 2 year old daughter, Kyra. They choose to do the self guided tour although guided tours are available. They took their time walking through the valley learning and taking photos of all of the different geothermal attractions.

There is a cultural aspect at Te Puia as well as the geothermal attractions but Kris and his daughter only had time to see the geothermal attractions. In the thermal valley they saw large mud pools with depths of up to 10 metres. They came across six geysers in the thermal valley with the most famous being the Pohutu geyser. It erupts once or twice an hour reaching heights of 30 metres! Kris saw a lot of sulphur and silica during the walk. Apparently his daughter, Kyra, wasn’t a fan of Rotorua’s well known rotten egg smell!

Kris & Kyra’s favourite part: Kris enjoyed reading all the information about how the Maori once used the thermal activity to survive. However, his daughter was far more interested in seeing the geysers erupt. She screamed with excitement every time she saw one erupt into the air.

te puia PSPhoto: Pohutu Geyser erupting in the geothermal valley at Te Puia. Photo Credit: Rotorua Canopy Tours

How to get there: Te Puia is the most central of the Rotorua geothermal attractions. It is located at the very end of Fenton Street. Find the directions from the Rotorua iSite here.

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