Explore places in New Zealand 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. There are several walkways around Taupō and Rotorua's geothermal areas that offer easy access and good views.
Here are the top spots to get closer to some of the best geothermal places in New Zealand.
Popular geothermal areas in Rotorua and Taupō
Around Rotorua's geothermal areas, you can see steam drift upward from parks, river banks and drains, carrying with it the unmistakable scent of sulphur in the air. Minutes from the city centre, geysers of boiling water roar from the ground and pools of bubbling mud gurgle and belch.
Whakarewarewa - Te Puia
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.
Hell’s Gate (Tikitere)
The ominous-sounding Hell’s Gate is Rotorua's most famous geothermal attraction. This sacred Māori site boasts 50 acres of mud pools, geysers, hot springs and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot-water waterfall.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
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.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Meaning “black water” in Māori, 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.