Rotorua's craziest attraction is its geothermal activity. Walking around Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland felt like life after the apocalypse. The town literally sits within a volcanic crater and at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park you can see the collapsed craters, mud pools and hot springs that illuminate colours of green, blue and orange.
What does Wai O Tapu mean? Wai means water, and Tapu means holy, so Wai-O-Tapu (also spelt as Waiotapu) literally means 'water of holiness' or 'sacred waters' in Maori.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland you can experience bubbling mud pools, collapsed craters & steaming hot springs.
As I first entered the park I was absolutely blown away by the natural colours: red rocks, yellow sulphur caves, orange and blue pools of steaming water and a bright, green luminous lake - it was amazing.
- The Champagne Pool is the most popular of the park's attractions. The pool is 65m round and reaches 74 degrees. The reason for its popularity is the vivid blue and orange waters - fantastic photo opportunities.
- Lake Ngakoro is at the very end of the park and can only be seen on the 75 minute walk. The lake is a dark green and was formed from a volcanic eruption over 700 years ago.
- Devil's Bath is a sight I have never experienced - or thought existed. The crater is filled with bright green or yellow water (depending on the weather). This is the last attraction on the walking trail and can be viewed on all 3 hike options.
Throughout the walk you will be blown away by bubbling mud pools, geysers, large sulphur mounds, the bright blue oyster pool & an abundance of volcanic activity, colour and steam.
Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland offers 3 different walking tracks. I recommend the longest walk which takes about 75 minutes and you have plenty of time to complete the walk before the bus leaves back to Rotorua.
Head First Travel provide guided tours to the park daily with a stop at the famous Lady Knox Geyser. The geyser erupts every day between 10:15 - 10:30am and can reach heights of up to 20m. This is a sight not to be missed.
Any visit to Rotorua should include this natural wonder. Have a chat to the staff at your accommodation who will able to organise your tour with you.