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  • Huge volcanic craters and world-famous Champagne Pool
  • 26 Unique natural features
  • Largest Sinter Terrace in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Lady Knox Geyser Eruption everyday
  • Only 1.5 hours to cover the entire park
  • Pre-purchase ticket for express entry

Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland Tickets

Help code: D2B-2067

(4.8)

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Reviews (10)
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Location

One of Rotorua's most essential attractions, Wai-o-Tapu is an incredibly colourful grouping of hot springs, geysers, pools and more that's amazing to see! Located just 20 minutes from Rotorua city, Wai-o-Tapu offers a variety of volcanic spectacles each with their own distinct character, shape and texture formed purely by the forces of nature - it's the most colourful geothermal in all of New Zealand and provides visitors with some great angles and viewpoints for snapping some amazing photos of its offerings. Tickets to Wai-o-Tapu will allow you the freedom to explore the grounds at your own pace; explore the three separate tracks that each emphasize a different aspect of the grounds including perhaps its most famous site - the Champagne Pools, a bubbling hot spring around 65 metres wide with a striking orange border and vibrant, bubble-filled water contained within.

Add to this the array of geysers spouting their contents high into the air, wooden bridges crossing directly through the heart of thermal hotspots, and much more, Wai-o-Tapu is home to everything a traveller could want out of a natural Rotorua travel experience. If you're looking to explore our #1 rated Rotorua attraction up close, book your tickets to Wai-o-Tapu online today.

Inclusions

  • General Admission into Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland
  • Lady Know Geyser Eruption at 10.15am every day
  • Comprehensive Guide Map - available in Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Korean, German, Russian & Czech
  • Gift Shop
  • Geyser Cafe
  • Picnic areas

Exclusions

  • Transfers are not included

Highlights

  • Visitors follow well defined tracks through bush and geothermal features in New Zealand’s largest hydrothermal area
  • Unique flora and fauna
  • Walks range from 30 minutes (1.5km) to 75 minutes (3km) - your choice, your time frame
  • Guided tours are Free of Charge for groups of 10 or more paying customers (by prior arrangement only)
  • Comprehensive Guide Map in English with translations in 11 different languageses
  • Geothermal Area - Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction
  • Lady Knox Geyser - At 10.15am each day there is the opportunity to learn the history and mechanics of the Lady Knox Geyser during a presentation by an informed guide in the natural amphitheatre
  • Mud Pool - Your visit to Wai-O-Tapu would not be complete without taking the opportunity to visit what is locally known as the Mud Pool. This was the site of a large mud volcano which was destroyed through erosion

Opening Times

  • April-October: 8:30am-5:00pm (last admission 3:45 pm)
  • November-March: 8:30am-6:00pm (last admission 4:45pm)
  • Christmas Day: 8:30 am-1:00 pm (last admission 11:45 am)

Location

  • 201 Waiotapu Loop Road RD 3, Rotorua 3073

Additional Information

  • Under 5 years are free
  • How to get there..

From Rotorua

  • Travel south along the Thermal Explorer Highway (SH 5) towards Taupo for 27km (20 mins drive) until you reach the Waiotapu Tavern. Turn left opposite the tavern and travel 2km to reach Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

From Taupo

  • Travel north along the Thermal Explorer Highway (SH 5) towards Rotorua for 53km (40 mins drive). Turn right where signposted and travel a further 1km to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Distance & Approximate Travel Times

  • Auckland - Rotorua (234kms) - 3.5hrs
  • Hamilton - Rotorua (107kms) - 1.75hrs
  • Wellington - Rotorua (460kms) - 6.5hrs
  • Rotorua - Wai O Tapu (27kms) - 20mins
  • Taupo - Wai O Tapu (53kms) - 40 mins

Booking Information

  • Confirmation in the form of a tour voucher will be received at time of booking
  • Upon completion of purchase, please print the voucher and present on day of the tour
  • For your information, complete Tour Operator Information including contact details is included on your tour voucher
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 stars 80% (8)
4 stars 20% (2)
3 stars 0% (0)
2 stars 0% (0)
1 star 0% (0)
JAMES LOK KIN TIE 4 weeks ago This is my third time going there but first time experience for my kids. Though they are not fond of the sulfur smell in the park, we took the opportunity to teach them on the minerals that cause different colours in the thermal park. This is a good and memorable educational tour and sceneries for the kids.
This is my third time going there but first time experience for my kids
JAMES LOK KIN TIE 4 weeks ago

This is my third time going there but first time experience for my kids. Though they are not fond of the sulfur smell in the park, we took the opportunity to teach them on the minerals that cause different colours in the thermal park. This is a good and memorable educational tour and sceneries for the kids.

Absolutely beautiful place
Joseph Loloi 4 weeks ago

Absolutely beautiful place. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s an awe inspiring place that will give you a greater understanding on how much our planet is alive. Try to make the 10:15 am geiser eruption which is ikctedible. And booking was easy on Experience Oz.

Wow
Mariko Punnoose 1 month ago

Wow, what an experience! I visited Thermal wonderland for the first time and it was breathtaking. The place was so much bigger than I expected, the shape and colour of the ground were simply amazing. Easy access to the place by car&easy walk on wooden walkway. Highly recommended!

Myself and my husband visited Wai O Tapu several days ago
Michelle 3 months ago

Myself and my husband visited Wai O Tapu several days ago. It was one of the few things we chose to do whilst in Rotorua for a wedding with limited time, and im so glad we chose this attraction. The park is large and there is so much to see - heaps of geothermal activity along with beautiful walks. There is a gift shop and cafe also on-site. Would highly recommend this for all ages. There is quite a lot of walking, but you can see as little or as much as you want. Be sure to get there before 10.15am to see the Lady Knox Geyser bubble over/erupt!

The Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland is definitely a must do when visiting Rotorua with the Family
Jack Rowe 3 months ago

The Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland is definitely a must do when visiting Rotorua with the Family. We got there before 10:15 am so that we could see the Lady Knox Geyser go off, which was cool to see and learn about. We then did the biggest walk around the park which was well worth the effort to do it with an 18-month-old. The walk took us about 2 hours including stopping to look at everything and to rest. Great experience for everyone who enjoys nature and the little one enjoyed the walk through the bush and in nature!

The Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland is about a 30-minute drive south of Rotorua on the State Highway 5 (the Thermal Explorer Highway) and the Wai O Tapu Loop Road turnoff is well signed
Darryl Heckelmann 7 months ago

The Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland is about a 30-minute drive south of Rotorua on the State Highway 5 (the Thermal Explorer Highway) and the Wai O Tapu Loop Road turnoff is well signed. The Lady Knox Geyser is well worth seeing. Get there early to get a good seat. Mind the wind direction or you might get wet! As for the Geothermal Park, take your time wandering the paths taking it all in. It’s like being on another planet. Read all the plaques as they are very educational. Don’t forget the mud pool. The bubble popping sounds are quite soothing. A must-see in NZ.

We bought our tickets online and headed straight to the Lady Knox Geyser for 10:15 am
Kay 8 months ago

We bought our tickets online and headed straight to the Lady Knox Geyser for 10:15 am. There was a short intro and then the Geyser went off. We then headed to the main entrance to enter the thermal wonderland. Fantastic attraction, highly recommend and the Devil's bath is a must see.

This was my second visit
Corrie Jacobs 1 year ago

This was my second visit. My daughter is visiting from South Africa and I just had to show her this Thermal Wonderland. You must plan your day to be there at 10 to see the Lady Knox Geyser, which was amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the experience with all the interesting colours and smells. One of the highlights was the bubbling mudpool on your way out.

Our day started with an introduction to the park from a really funny tour guide
Joey 1 year ago

Our day started with an introduction to the park from a really funny tour guide, who told us all about the Lady Knox geyser and the history of the land. This was really interesting and fascinating to learn about. We had front row seats to the geyser erupting and got some great shots! After the geyser erupted we headed down to the park entrance, where we got our tickets and a map of the park and headed on through. We did the full walk round the red, orange and yellow track in just under 2 hours. The highlights of the tour were the nearly luminous green devils baths, the orange champagne pools and the waterfall at the end. We had a great time exploring the thermal wonderland and would definitely recommend it, but just be warned... it's a little on the smelly side! The sulfur really does have a strong smell and after a while can get a bit over powering but if you can get over that then it's all good! The gift shop is also very good selling a range of items and some really nice wooden sculptures and boxes which we purchased. Overall a really good, interesting day out.

This was my second time visiting Wai-O-Tapu and it definitely did not disappoint
Brittney 2 years ago

This was my second time visiting Wai-O-Tapu and it definitely did not disappoint! It's fascinating to see the geothermal pools and learn about the different areas and how they formed. The highlight was the Devil's Bath, a fluorescent green pool! Make sure you pack comfortable walking shoes, water, sunscreen and a camera!

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is regarded as New Zealand’s most colourful, and diverse geothermal area!

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland Review

Mackenzie Burr

Experience Oz Travel Writer

In this review we explore New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, spanning over approximately 18 square kilometres of protected New Zealand thermal landscape.

New Zealand is home to some of the most dynamic environments the world has to offer. With a spine of rugged mountains running through its core, the country is divided into a mixture of rolling hills, dynamic coastlines and active thermal attractions that draw consistent crowds all year long.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit the incredible natural attractions present at Wai-O-Tapu’s Thermal Wonderland.

Featuring some breath-taking geothermal attractions, such as steaming lakes, bubbling mud pools and seemingly bottomless pits, the area is a must-see for anyone travelling through New Zealand’s north island.

Set in the heart of the North Island, the site is conveniently located just half an hours drive south of Rotorua, or three hours south-east of Auckland.

IMAGE

How to get there

Car: To get there from Rotorua, travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway (SH 5) towards Taupo for 27km until you reach Wai-O-Tapu Tavern. Turn left opposite the tavern and follow the road for about 2km to arrive at the visitor’s centre.

Shuttle: Thermal Land Shuttle provides shuttle services from Rotorua for $30 per adult (call 0800 894 287 to enquire). Pick-ups and Drop-offs are at the Tourism Rotorua i-Site (1167 Fenton Street) or from your accommodation by arrangement.

Highlights

  • The Champaign Pools
  • The Devil's Bath
  • Scenic walking trail
  • On site shop

What to do

After finding a park, slathering on some sunscreen, and swapping out jandals for enclosed shoes, you’ll be all set to explore Wai-O-Tapu’s Thermal Wonderland for yourself.

Get all the information at the on-site visitors centre

Upon arrival, you are greeted by friendly staff in the site’s expansive visitor centre, which comes complete with a café, large retail shop, picnic area, restrooms and even a baby changing facility.

Here you’ll be able to ask any questions you might have before you head off. It’s also a good idea to have a toilet break while you can, with no restrooms available beyond this point.

Along with some general directions, you will also be issued with a map of the park. Make sure to hang on to this as it makes for a fantastic guide on your journey.

The map includes walking times and distances for each available track, the location of seats (these come in handy!), bridges, steps, shelters and even where all the best viewing spots are.

See if the Devil’s Home

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Attraction number one (of 25!) is affectionately known as the Devil’s Home. An uninviting hole amidst sulphur rock, the crater is the first taste of what you’ll find on your exploration of Wai-O-Tapu.

Continue along the path and you’ll arrive at attractions number two and three, known as the Rainbow Crater and Thunder Crater respectively, both impressive crater’s that seem better suited to the surface of the Moon than New Zealand’s backyard.

As you make your way around the track each attraction seemingly grows larger and more extreme than the last, and they’re never more than a few metres from the path. At times you can even feel the heat on your face as it rises from the thermally active attractions.

Celebrate with Champagne

IMAGE

After passing attraction number four, the Devil’s Ink Pots, and making your way around the first loop you’ll be confronted by the park’s most prominent feature. Attraction number 21, The Champagne Pool.

A 65 metre wide, bubbling hot spring surrounded by dramatic orange earth. The pool is constantly filling the air with incredible volumes of evaporating water, making for an almost otherworldly atmosphere.

Despite the numbering system, the pool is actually located between markers 9, 5 and 10. It’s a little confusing, but the path doubles back on itself a few times which mixes up the order.

The pool holds an impressive 50,000 square metres of water, with deep geothermal water reaching temperatures of up to 260 degrees Celsius.

We ended up spending a fair bit of time at The Champagne Pool, soaking up the ambient moisture, reading each and every information board (there’s quite a few, and they’re jam-packed with facts on the sites volcanic history), and taking a heap of photo’s capturing this truly unique geothermal formation.

When you’re ready to move on from The Champagne Pool and continue along the designated walking track, you will eventually stumble upon a spot known as the Panoramic View.

Take advantage of some spectacular outlooks

The Panoramic View is just one of many outlooks featured in the park, providing some incredibly picturesque scenes of the surrounding landscape.

Attraction five on the map is appropriately named Artist’s Palette, with expansive views of the champagne pool and it’s surrounding sulphurous sandy flats, perfect for budding artists who fancy a go at capturing the unique colours present in the area.

Other viewing areas include the uniquely beautiful Lake Ngakoro Waterfall, Frying Pan Flats, the Opal Pool, and if you’re willing to follow a short detour, there’s a spot of The Sacred Track.

Warm up at Ngakoro Waterfall

IMAGE

This charming thermal waterfall is filled with super-hot water all year round, resulting in a strict do-not-touch rule for curious visitors.

The adjoining lake, Lake Ngakoro (pictured) is a beautiful shade of emerald green and is the largest body of water you’ll see on your journey.

The lookout for this attraction (number 18) is a little narrow, but it’s well worth waiting your turn to take a magical shot or two from this beautifully scenic viewing area.

Save the best till last!

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The final four attractions of the loop are truly some of the best on offer.

First up is the Inferno Crater. A dark, steaming crater that resembles a meteor crash site moments after a collision with the earth’s crust. The crater truly lives up to its name when billowing steam from its large opening into the sky above.

Second is the ever-popular Bird’s Nest Crater. A large, wide crater that features a variety of nesting birds, taking advantage of the natural heating to help incubate their eggs.

Third, you’ll find the vibrant Sulphur Cave. The cave is blemished in bright yellow stains, creating a lively look of exuberant life within an otherwise desolate environment. The Sulphur Cave is yet another feature within Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland that boasts almost unnatural colouring and makes for some magnificent photos if you’ve saved any space.

The parks final attraction is also its most touted, The Devil’s Bath (pictured).

Seemingly impossible green grips this small body of water, almost as though food dye has been emptied into a tub of milk. The strikingly vibrant green pool has captivated audiences from all over the world with its seemingly impossible colours jumping over the surrounding ridges.

This fluorescent body of water is one of the last attractions you’ll see as you exit the park, and you won’t soon forget it. The colour is so striking, many photos of the Devil’s Bath are assumed to be photoshopped.

What’s included?

  • Entry to the park
  • The Map

What to bring

  • Closed in shoes
  • Weather-appropriate attire
  • Plenty of drinking water
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My Recommendations

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. The park contains a variety of truly captivating and unique attractions, formed by the regions incredible volcanic history.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is definitely a must-see destination for every Northern New Zealand itinerary. Whether you are travelling as a couple, with a group of friends, as a solo photographer, or with the whole family, there are plenty of attractions to entertain both young and old.

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