New Zealand may have travel restrictions in place, including self-quarantine, due to COVID-19.

Find out moreOpens in new tab or window

WaiotapuNew Zealand

Soak in a hot stream, marvel at a boiling mud pool and watch a geyser erupt in spectacular fashion at one of New Zealand’s most impressive geothermal wonderlands.

Enjoy the surreal landscape and mysterious appeal of this active geothermal area in the Taupō Volcanic Zone. Wai-O-Tapu, means “sacred waters” in Māori and a visit to Waiotapu includes hot springs and bubbling thermal mud pools of bright colors. Enjoy the free natural attractions or explore the fenced off Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland.

At the park’s visitor center, get a map and information about how volcanic activity formed this area thousands of years ago. Arrive before mid morning to witness the show at the Lady Knox Geyser, for which you need a ticket to the Thermal Wonderland first. A staff member actually stimulates the eruption of the geyser by pouring detergent down its vent, so it is less of a natural phenomena than it sounds. Nonetheless, it is spectacular to watch, and smell, the thick plumes of mist that shoot up to the sky.

Head back through the park’s entrance gate at the back of the visitor center to find the Champagne Pool. This vast pool of steaming water has colorful edges formed by the mineral-rich water. The pool overflows down the hill to form Primrose Terrace, a series of sinter terraces, which are ledges of silica.

Marvel at the multicolored pools and other dramatic features as you wander along the tracks, which range between 30-70 minutes in length. Stay on the boardwalks to be safe in this highly turbulent and often extremely hot landscape.

Outside the Thermal Wonderland, just follow your nose to the park’s public geothermal areas. Follow the Waiotapu Boardwalk to see a large pool of gurgling and spitting mud, an impressive display of nature.

Walk to the bridge just beyond the visitor center to find “Hot N Cold,” a hot spring alongside a cold stream. Find a spot with the perfect mix of temperatures for you and relax in the gently flowing water or chat with the soaking locals.

The Waiotapu geothermal region is 17 miles (27 kilometers) to the south of Rotorua and 33 miles (53 kilometers) to the north of Taupo and can be reached by car or shuttle bus from Rotorua. The visitor center has a café and souvenir shop.

Top Hotels in Waiotapu

Holiday Inn Rotorua
Holiday Inn Rotorua
4.5 out of 5
10 Tryon Street, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
The price is ¥10,362 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18

This family-friendly Rotorua hotel is steps from Whakarewarewa Hot Springs and Whakarewarewa: The Living Maori Village. Polynesian Spa is 2.5 mi (4 km) ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,006 reviews)

"A very good family hotel that focuses on families."…"

Reviewed on Jan 13, 2021

Holiday Inn Rotorua
Pullman Rotorua
Pullman Rotorua
1135 Arawa St, Rotorua
The price is ¥13,620 per night from Jan 17 to Jan 18

Situated in Rotorua, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Government Gardens and Polynesian Spa. Rotorua Central Mall and Rotorua Hospital are also within ...

4.2/5Excellent! (65 reviews)

"Location is right in the city - can walk to many restaurants and the lake"…"

Reviewed on Jan 8, 2021

Pullman Rotorua
Prince's Gate Hotel
Prince's Gate Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1057 Arawa Street, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty
The price is ¥6,773 per night from Jan 28 to Jan 29

This family-friendly Rotorua hotel is located near the airport, within a 10-minute walk of Rotorua i-SITE Visitor Centre and Polynesian Spa. Skyline Rotorua ...

4.2/5Very Good! (989 reviews)

"Old property but properly maintained one. Staff was real helpful and ready to take an extra step to make customers trip memorable. Rooms were equiped with nearly everything."…"

Reviewed on Jan 6, 2021

Prince's Gate Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Waiotapu

Quest Rotorua Central
Quest Rotorua Central
4 out of 5
1192 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua
The price is ¥10,362 per night from Feb 8 to Feb 9

Located in the heart of Rotorua, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rotorua Night Market and Polynesian Spa. Skyline Rotorua and Lake Rotorua are ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (712 reviews)

"Clean and very quiet, we had a good nights sleep. Friendly staff at reception."…"

Reviewed on Dec 20, 2020

Quest Rotorua Central
Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park
Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park
2.5 out of 5
67-69 Whittaker Road, Rotorua
The price is ¥6,117 per night from Feb 7 to Feb 8

With direct access to the beach, this Rotorua cabin is within 3 mi (5 km) of Rotorua Hospital, Polynesian Spa, and Lake Rotorua. Skyline Rotorua is 2 mi (3.3 ...

4/5Very Good! (155 reviews)

"Great place to stay. Nice facilities and close to town. Highly recommended."…"

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2020

Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park
Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park
Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park
3.5 out of 5
463 Old Taupo Road (South End), Rotorua
The price is ¥6,056 per night from Jan 21 to Jan 22

Situated in the suburbs, this campground is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Whakarewarewa Hot Springs and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Polynesian Spa. Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts ...

4/5Very Good! (163 reviews)
Feedback

"I think it would be a good idea to put barriers up at the entrabce so that only those staying in the park can access. There was a car that drove around the park around 9-10pm the night we stayed playing really loud music ane it seemee as though they were looking for someone... we felt unsafe."…"

Reviewed on Oct 1, 2020

Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Waiotapu

Top things to do in Waiotapu

Cities near Waiotapu