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Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Vacation Travel Guide

Just a short drive from the busy city is one of the most fascinating areas of geothermal activity in New Zealand.

Cross boardwalks above gently simmering water and see pools of hot bubbling mud at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Peer into dark craters and watch as a geyser shoots water up to 20 metres (65 feet) into the sky.

Set off on one of the three well-signposted tracks around the park. Depending on which path you choose, the journey will take between 30 and 75 minutes to complete. A walk through this surreal, lunar-like environment provides the chance to witness some of the volcanic wonders that this region is famous for.

Look for the luminous green waters of the ominously named Devil’s Bath. The pretty trees and shrubs surrounding it make this unusually coloured pool appear even more peculiar. Carry on past the Champagne Pool, a bubbling hot spring famed for its brilliant orange rim, to a low boardwalk crossing a vast lake of steaming, cream-coloured liquid.

Back on firm ground, admire the Primrose Terraces, a set of glistening steps. Elsewhere, pools of thick boiling mud rise and fall gently while collapsed craters add to the post-apocalyptic feel of the region.

Don’t miss Lady Knox Geyser, just a 3-minute drive from the main park. Come around mid-morning and marvel as scalding water sprays into the air with amazing force. Ask for directions at the visitor centre and arrive early to get your seat in the natural amphitheatre.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is about 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Rotorua. The attraction is open daily and has an admission fee. The visitor centre by the entrance has a café and gift shop. Wear trainers or hiking boots as the terrain here is rugged and rocky.

Top things to do in Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Top Hotels Close to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Rotorua District, Waikite Valley
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Located in a rural location, this family-friendly cottage is within 6 mi (10 km) of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and Lady Knox ...

5/5Exceptional! (6 reviews)
Excellent on all accounts

"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this beautiful cottage and enjoyed the views and peacefulness plus the nearby attractions to enjoy."…"

Reviewed on Oct 8, 2020

Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Holiday Inn Rotorua
Holiday Inn Rotorua
4.5 out of 5
10 Tryon Street, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
Free Cancellation
The price is $79 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14

This family-friendly Rotorua hotel is steps from Whakarewarewa Hot Springs and Whakarewarewa: The Living Maori Village. Polynesian Spa is 2.5 mi (4 km) ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (978 reviews)

"In general it is a good hotel, nice room, good parking, a good restaurant"…"

Reviewed on Nov 26, 2020

Holiday Inn Rotorua
Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
2 out of 5
4085 State Highway 5, RD2, Reporoa
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Situated in Reporoa, this campground is within 12 mi (20 km) of Lake Ohakuri, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and Lady Knox Geyser. Orakei Korako Geothermal Park ...

2/5 (2 reviews)

"It’s too hot needs Air con during summer far too hot only had a fan. Quite good cabin tho"…"

Reviewed on Feb 16, 2019

Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Reviews of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
47
5 - Excellent 60.256410256410255%
4 - Good
24
4 - Good 30.76923076923077%
3 - Okay
5
3 - Okay 6.410256410256411%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 2.5641025641025643%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Dec 21, 2019

There is a great mud pool just outside the wonderland... My kids liked this the best

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

May 4, 2019

Wai-o-tapu is about 20 min from jet park hotel. Plenty of parking space. Takes about an hour to 90 min. It was a great tour - pretty cool. Highly recommend when in Rotorua.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 23, 2019

The geyser is disappointing...they make it happen. The rest of the exhibit is awesome

Popular places to visit in Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

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Best Lodging Options Near Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Rotorua District, Waikite Valley
Wainot Farmstay Located in a Thermal Wonderland
Holiday Inn Rotorua
Holiday Inn Rotorua
4.5 out of 5
10 Tryon Street, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
The price is $79 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14
Holiday Inn Rotorua
Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
2 out of 5
4085 State Highway 5, RD2, Reporoa
Golden Springs Motel and Holiday Park
Holiday House at Lake Tarawera, Rotorua
Holiday House at Lake Tarawera, Rotorua
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Holiday House at Lake Tarawera, Rotorua
Lake Front With own Jetty. Four Bedroom With Modern Furnishings
Lake Front With own Jetty. Four Bedroom With Modern Furnishings
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Lake Front With own Jetty. Four Bedroom With Modern Furnishings
Lake Edge Superior House With the Most Fabulous Views and Jetty
Lake Edge Superior House With the Most Fabulous Views and Jetty
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Lake Edge Superior House With the Most Fabulous Views and Jetty
Smoked Trout - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Smoked Trout - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Smoked Trout - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Magic Tarawera - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Magic Tarawera - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Magic Tarawera - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Trouts About - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Trouts About - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty Region
Trouts About - Lake Tarawera Holiday Home
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.