Sculpted 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. It’s incredible, a truly unique place in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island that is unlike anywhere you have been before. Walking around Wai-O-Tapu is fascinating, with so many different types of volcanic activity happening in the same place, it was such an unbelievable place to explore.
The only thing I can’t describe is the smell. It’s so strange and completely different to anything I have ever smelled before! There are several different walks which take from 30 to 75 minutes, each with their own unique volcanic vistas, which will give you an opportunity to experience the diversity of the area. There are so many types of volcanic activity happening it’s insane! Some of the key areas are the Geothermal Area, Lady Knox Geyser, and the Mud Pools. The Lady Knox Geyser erupts at 10:15am each day to heights of 10 to 20 minutes. It is located in a separate area from the Visitor Centre, and it is recommended that you drive down there rather than walk for safety reasons. Make sure you get there around 9:30am so you don’t miss this incredible sight!
You can’t travel to New Zealand’s North Island and not experience this Geothermal Wonderland. It has been labelled one of the 20 most surreal places in the world, and countless nominations for best experience in New Zealand.
If you’re travelling to Wai-O-Tapu from Rotorua drive south along the Thermal Explorer Highway (SH 5) towards Taupo until you reach the Waiotapu Tavern and then turn left. If you’re travelling from Taupo drive north along the Thermal Explorer Highway (SH 5) towards Rotorua for about 40 minutes and turn right at the sign for Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
201 Waiotapu Loop Road
RD 3, Rotorua, 3073 New Zealand
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