On the outskirts of Rotorua find the lively Kuirau Park, a popular community attraction with a twist. Beneath the park’s surface geothermic activity is bubbling away. The park is a family-friendly way to experience the famous volcanic activity of New Zealand’s North Island. Watch as steam vents push hot, moist air out of the ground. Learn about the region’s legendary creature as you explore the park or visit on a weekend to browse the stalls of the local flea market.
While the geothermic activity of Kuirau Park is usually safely confined behind barriers, new steam vents have been known to open, shooting dirt up to 10 metres (33 feet) into the sky. Be cautious as you navigate the park. Wander along the boardwalk that crosses the hot lake to get close to the thermal activity. A popular alternative to the larger volcanoes of New Zealand, Kuirau Park is perfect for families with young children. Listen with your kids for the hisses of steam building just below the surface. Afterwards, enjoy watching your children as they play on the playground within the park.
Learn the Māori legend of Kuiarai, a heavenly woman who was dragged away by a taniwha, a legendary creature, at the lake. The hot water and bubbling steam are said to have been created by the gods above to ensure that the creature was destroyed. Today, the hot water of the bubbling lake feeds into a foot pool. Wade across the pool or relax with a picnic by the water’s edge.
Visit the park on a Saturday morning to discover the local flea market. Browse stalls of clothes, handicrafts and historic souvenirs as you mingle with local residents.
Kuirau Park is located on the outskirts of Rotorua and can be reached on foot from the centre of town. If you drive here, use the on-site parking. The park is open daily and has no admission fee.