You don’t have to look far to experience Rotorua’s geothermal wonders—hissing geyers and bubbling mud pools can be found all around the city. Visits to Rotorua’s natural hot springs are also a popular pastime. Here are some of the best options.
Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley
Located in Te Puia, just south of Rotorua, the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley is renowned for its steaming vents, boiling mud pools, and Pohutu and Te Horu geysers. While you’re there, spot Kiwi birds, enjoy a cultural performance at the Te Puia Maori Arts and Culture Institute, and sample some traditional food cooked in the steaming hot springs.
Drive along the Thermal Highway and enjoy views of Tarawera Volcano; marvel at the Lady Knox Geyser and mud pools in the Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland; then stop at Wai-o-Tapu Bridge to take a dip in the steamy thermal waters. Half- and full-day tours of Wai-o-Tapu from Rotorua are often combined with a tour of the Hobbiton movie set or a visit to the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley.
En route to Taupo, the Waikite Valley thermal pools are a top spot for families with private pools and facilities, a campground, eco-trail, and 100 percent natural geothermal waters, renowned for their high mineral content. Nearby, the warm waters of Kerosene Creek are also a popular spot for swimming and bathing.
The shores of Lake Rotorua are teeming with natural hot springs and thermal spas. After enjoying a cruise around the lake, head to the Te Kohanga area, soak in the hot springs at Kuirau Park, or pamper yourself at a luxurious spa like the Polynesian Spa or Hell’s Gate, set in the Tikitere geothermal area between Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti.