In the 1950s a large area of land north of Taupō suddenly began to get hot and emit steam. Craters of boiling mud emerged, along with other geothermal phenomena. And so the Craters of the Moon was born.
The event was triggered by the lowering of underground water pressure by a nearby geothermal power station. Superheated water rose to the surface, escaping through any vent it could find.
Wooden boardwalks have been constructed to protect visitors from the heat of the soil and these are regularly moved as new vents emerge. These are regularly moved as new vents emerge. One minute you're in clear air marveling at the eerie steam clouds, then with a shift in the breeze you're enveloped in a cloud and your sunglasses are completely fogged up.
The tracks lead to several viewing platforms on the edge of large craters, from where the relentless power of the earth's fiery core becomes truly apparent. You can view clouds of slightly sulphurous steam, hissing vents, colourful soils and cauldrons of bubbling mud as you wander through the otherworldly terrain This activity is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and you should allow 45 minutes to complete the loop and an additional 15 mins for the upper lookout.
Craters of the Moon is a public attraction and charges a small fee to keep the facility maintained. The turn-off is well sign-posted on State Highway 1 north of Taupō.
When approaching from the North
At the roundabout at SH1 & 5 take the Wairakei Park exit and travel along Wairakei Drive. After the Wairakei International Golf Course turn right into Karapiti Road and travel 1.7 kms arriving at the carpark of The Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk.
When approaching from the South
Travel 5.5 kms north from the i-SITE in Taupō along Wairakei Drive (or the old SH1 & 5)
Turn left into Karapiti Road and Travel 1 .7 kms arriving at the carpark of The Craters of the Moon Geothermal walk.
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