The best geothermal parks of New Zealand

The land around Rotorua, in New Zealand, is home to a highly active geothermal zone. There we can enjoy the beauty of rare phenomena, like geysers, hot springs, incredible pools and other features. They scatter a wide array of colors that emerge from the core of the Earth.

In this article we are going to cover six areas with evocative names, such as the Hidden Valley, Hell's Gate and the Craters of the Moon. Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Whakarewarewa complete the tour (please find a map of the route at the end of this post).

Champagne Pool
Wai-O-Tapu has one of the most unique and world famous attractions: The Champagne pool.
Image by Macronix

View of the central pools and the Artist's Palette.
Image by Tattooed JJ

Champagne Pool
The temperature at the top of the Champagne Pool is around 75 °C (165 °F).

Wai-O-Tapu landscape
Colors are formed depending on the mineral composition of the soil.

Geyser Wai-O-Tapu
Lady Knox is another of the stars of Wai-O-Tapu. This geyser goes into action thanks to some manual stimulation, by adding soap. This was discovered in the early twentieth century, when some prisoners used it to wash clothes. Image by Sy

Lady Knox
Close up of the shower.

Frying Pan
The surface of the Frying Pan flat is quite fragile, and a new hole giving off toxic fumes can be created if an imprudent tourist steps on it.

Devil's Bath
The sulphuric Devil's Bath.
Image by Crispyking

Wai-O-Tapu pool
It doesn't smell as good as it looks...
Image by AnnieGreenSprings

Mud Pool
Explosive mud pool.
Image by Colin Bowern

carretera y manta
You are rewarded with awesome landscapes when driving across the Thermal Explorer Highway.

Orakei Korako
To get to Orakei Korako (aka The Hidden Valley), you have to cross the river Waikato, whose waters were risen in 1961 to create an artificial lake, drowning two thirds of the geothermal area and some of the world's largest geysers. Cool.

Hidden Valley
There was an old sign that said "Map of Africa" next to this pool... maybe not anymore.
Image by Robert Paul Young

hot water algae
The hot water algae that live here have adapted to survive temperatures between 35 and 59 °C.

Alien plants
A closer look highlights the alien appearance of these odd plants.

Orakei Korako
Another enchanted pond.

Ruatapu Cave
The Ruatapu Cave, in the presence of one of the symbols of the country.
Image by Kathrin & Stefan

Craters of the moon Taupo
The Craters of the Moon, covered with steam, delights its visitors with a smelly atmosphere.
Image by Andrew Parnell

Craters of the moon New Zealand
This time it's pink.
Image by Dondersteen

Hell's Gate
The Hell's Gate seems rather the door of paradise to me.
Image by Colincookman

Waimangu is together with Wai-O-Tapu and Orakei Korako, the third of these big areas not to miss.
Image by Birger Hoppe

Pink and White Terraces
Waimangu is located near where the Pink and White Terraces, labeled at that time as the Eighth Wonder of the World, were destroyed by a violent volcanic eruption in 1886.
Painting courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library

Waimangu Geyser
Waimangu was the name of a geyser that erupted between 1900 and 1904, reaching the (almost) stratospheric height of 460 meters (1,500 feet), the largest ever recorded. It also killed four pioneer tourists, due to a sudden blast.
Image courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library

Inferno Crater
We are back in the 21st century to admire the Inferno Crater, in the light of the HDR technique.
Image by

Alien egg
More uncommon encounters: it looks like some unwary tourist has already got facehugged by this alien egg.
Image by Gouldy

Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Image by Gouldy99

Waimangu Volcanic Valley Rotorua
Swimming not recommended.
Image by ~ Pil ~

Birds Nest spring
Baby spring splashing in the Bird's Nest terrace.
Image by Gouldy99

Pohutu Geyser
Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, next to Rotorua. The Pohutu Geyser can reach up to 30 meters (100 feet) high.
Image by Alan Vernon



Dennis Anderson '58 said...

Interesting pictures; think I will pass on the actual trip. But thanks.

zuketech zuke said...

wonderful i love new zealand

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