Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Waimangu Volcanic Valley is one of the Rotorua area’s most popular natural attractions and also among its youngest. Formed following the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera, the valley is comprised of a series of crater lakes, hot springs and untouched natural landscapes, with Lake Rotomahana at its centre. The valley can be seen by boat or explored using the network of hiking trails that traverse the protected reserve and wildlife refuge. Take a guided tour of the valley to learn about its delicate ecosystems or venture out on a self-guided hike to experience the serenity offered by the New Zealand bush.
A short drive from the city of Rotorua, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley can offer a short morning walk or an entire day’s exploration. Sign up for a guided tour with an operator in Rotorua for a complete experience. Following your arrival by shuttle bus, walk through the unique environment, naturally created just over a century ago, to reach Lake Rotomahana. Board a charter boat to see the towering Mount Tarawera from the water and to learn about the Pink and White Terraces that were destroyed during the eruption. Recent scientific evidence suggests the terraces may remain intact at the bottom of the lake.
Visit Frying Pan Lake, one of the world’s largest natural hot springs. It’s beautiful to see but too hot for swimming, with average temperatures of 55 C (131 F). Stand within 100 metres (330 feet) to feel its heat radiating against your skin. Continue exploring to find three crater lakes heated by geothermal activity.
Embark on a bushwalk to discover the area’s flora and fauna. Follow the challenging Mount Haszard Hiking Trail from the Inferno Crater for panoramic views across the valley. If you’re feeling less adventurous, walk the short distance to Echo Crater where you will see rare thermal plants and local bird species.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley is located about 20 minutes by car from Rotorua. Tour operators can transport you to the valley by shuttle bus. Parking is available on site. Pay an admission fee to enter the reserve.