Explore places that have been shaped and coloured by volcanic and geothermal forces for thousands of years.
Watch boiling mud pools and geysers while feeling the heat underfoot from landscapes that hiss with steam.
In and around Rotorua's geothermal areas, sneaky threads of steam drift upward from parks, river banks and drains. The unmistakeable scent of sulphur wafts through the air. Minutes from the city centre, geysers of boiling water roar from the ground and pools of bubbling mud gurgle and belch.
There are several walkways around Taupo and Rotorua's geothermal areas that offer easy access and good views. If you want to experience the thrill of a live volcano, tours can take you to the edge of a steaming crater.
The ominous sounding Hell’s Gate is Rotorua's most famous geothermal attraction. This sacred Maori site boasts 50 acres of mud pools, geysers, hot springs and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot-water waterfall.
The Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland is located near Rotorua. This geothermal area features a number of exhilarating mud pools, geysers and sulphur pools. View the stunning Champagne Pool or marvel at the force of the Lady Knox Geyser.
The Craters of the Moon is a geothermal walk located just north of Taupo. The walk features mud craters that steam with geothermal activity.
One of Rotorua's most popular geothermal sites, Whakarewarewa boasts some excellent geothermal activity and a traditional Maori village. With approximately 500 hot springs, the terraces and pools are known as a Living Thermal Village.
Meaning “black water” in Maori, Waimangu is a thermal area that was created after the devastating 1886 Tarawera Eruption – the same eruption that buried the then ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the Pink and White Terraces. Waimangu is located about 20 minutes south of Rotorua.