Orakei Korako Geothermal Zone
In our personal ranking, this is the best of such sites in New Zealand. There’s lots of variety and fewer people. Orakei Korako Park is off the main road, so you don’t get all those crowds that walk along Wai-O-Tapu. It’s also called the Hidden Valley for a reason. The Emerald Terrace generates up to 20 million liters of sulfur a day! The three terraces above it were formed during a massive earthquake in 131 BC. They are covered with black, green and yellow algae that grow at temperatures of 35-49 degrees Celsius.
Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Zone
Waiotapu is much more popular than Orakei Korako, but that’s not to say it’s better. It’s just different. Wai-O-Tapu means “holy waters” in Māori. There are some colorful lakes on the main (short) track, and the rest after Orakei Korako didn’t impress. If you are in a hurry, the long trek can be skipped.
The main attraction is the Champagne Pool. It’s so called because it has a lot of bubbles that rise like champagne.
The second cool place is the Artist’s Palette, a lake painted in different colors.
The third place that impressed was Devil’s Bath. The water is really that acid green color!!! Everything else looks more modest.
Near some of the hot springs there are a lot of stinky fumes, we just held our breath and ran over to fresh air. It wouldn’t hurt to have some sort of face mask for places like this. And in general, there is quite a lot of stench, asthmatics are better to go accompanied by a healthy person, or refrain from visiting at all.
Lady Knox Geyser
This geyser is located in Wai-O-Tapu and is remarkable for its punctuality: it erupts every day at exactly 10.15 am. The height of the jet is 10-20 meters. Where did this precision come from? Once workers washed clothes in it and discovered that the geyser reacts to soap. So the park workers simply add some organic soap to trigger the eruption. Since it only happens once a day, crowds gather, you have to arrive early to get a good photo spot.
Mud Pool (Mud Pool)
The largest mud pool in New Zealand is located at Wai-O-Tapu. Until the 1920s, it was a mud volcano that was transformed into a lake by erosion.
What else to see and do in Rotorua City
- Te Puia Geothermal Zone: hot springs, Pohutu Geyser, Māori performances.
- Whakarewarewa – Māori village.
- Ohinemutu – Māori village. 4.
- Redwoods Treewalk – you can walk along paths amongst the giant trees.
- Polynesian Spa with mineral springs.
- Helicopter or seaplane flights over Mount Tarawera or Whakaari Volcano (White Island).
- Night market on Thursdays from 5pm on Tutanekai St: local souvenirs, street food, coffee, wine.
- Also, in Rotorua city itself, Kuirau Park has a couple of puddles that are steaming, but it’s not even worth spending time on them.