White Island / Whakaari is an active marine volcano, 48km north of Whakatane. Get there two ways – by helicopter as we did with Kahu NZ (formerly Frontier Helicopters) or by boat with White Island Tours.
White Island from above
White Island is a submerged stratovolcano, it is made up of layers of ash and lava flow and 70% of the cone sits under the sea. The volcanic vents under the water produce hot air bubbles and some fishermen have said they’ve caught precooked fish!
We caught a helicopter as we decided it was a once in a life … Read the rest
Te Puia combines Maori culture, our national icon – the kiwi bird, and geothermal activity on the city’s doorstep, 3km from Rotorua centre.
Visit during the day to spot the two brown kiwi in the Kiwi House and see geothermal features including the naturally erupting Pohutu geyser. Watch Maori carvers and weavers at work, and walk onto Rotowhio marae with its carved wharenui (meeting houses) and pataka (storehouse). Cost – from $54 per adult (add on options available). (Discount for New Zealand residents and locals).
Pataka (elevated storehouse) at Te Puia in Rotorua
The evening experience adds more Maori … Read the rest
It costs $18pp to walk the Wairakei Terraces Walkway, we suggest checking out Bookme and GrabOne as they often offer 50% discount for both the walkway and thermal pools ($25pp not discounted). We got 50% discount via GrabOne and given the walk is short (around 30 minutes) and doesn’t have the variety of geothermal activity as some of the other sites we think at 50% off it’s good value, at $18pp not so much.
Wairakei Terraces – modelled on the Pink and White Terraces lost in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption
At the start of the walkway you see water … Read the rest
One of the best reasons to visit Craters of the Moon is price – at $8pp it’s affordable, and the good folks at The Craters of the Moon Trust donate part of the income to charity. The 45 minute walk is also pushchair and wheelchair friendly with the exception of the 10 minute uphill detour to the lookout.
Close up of the snowy mountains in Tongariro National Park from Craters of the Moon lookout
Craters of the Moon is part of the Wairakei geothermal field. The steaming craters came to life in the 1950’s with the development of the … Read the rest
The star attraction at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is The Champagne Pool with its sun burst orange edges and tiny champagne like bubbles on the surface.
The Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Elsewhere in the park sulphur colours the landscape yellow and adds a pungent and uniquely Rotorua smell to the air.
Yellow sulphur mounds
Kanuka grows wild along wooden walkways that hug cliff faces and take you over steaming ground to the miniature Lake Ngakoro waterfall.
Walkway to Lake Ngakoro waterfall
Miniature Lake Ngakoro waterfall
You can’t see the boiling mud at the bottom of Inferno Crater but you … Read the rest
There are a number of geothermal sites in Rotorua and Taupo and they all have their own claims to fame – ‘Orakei Korako is arguably the best thermal area left in NZ’ (Lonely Planet), and ‘Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland – one of the 20 most surreal places in the world’ (Trip Advisor).
Orakei Korako – photo taken from geothermal area looking back at the Visitor Centre / MudCake Cafe
It makes it hard to decide where to go if you have to choose. My aim with posts about geothermal attractions is to highlight what we think are the best reasons for … Read the rest
We took advantage of a $39pp Grab One deal at Hells Gate for a mud bath and sulphur spa (usually $75pp). When I think of a mud bath I think of a thick pool of mud like this one in Colombia. At Hells Gate you step into a pool of hot muddy water and then scoop mud out of a container with your hands to give yourself a mud body mask ….
Hells Gate Mud Bath
There’s a 20 minute limit in the mud bath due to it causing a rise in body temperature, it’s long enough for a … Read the rest