Tour to the Best Geothermal Parks of New Zealand

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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

Champagne Pool

The temperature at the top of the Champagne Pool is around 75 °C (165 °F). Colors are formed depending on the mineral composition of the soil.

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.

Lady Knox
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

Devil's Bath
The sulphuric Devil's Bath. It doesn't smell as good as it looks...
Image by Crispyking

Orakei Korako
You are rewarded with awesome landscapes when driving across the Thermal Explorer Highway.

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

Alien plants

The hot water algae that live here have adapted to survive temperatures between 35 and 59 °C. A closer look highlights the alien appearance of these odd plants.

Orakei Korako
Another enchanted pond.

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

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

Along with Wai-O-Tapu and Orakei Korako, Waimangu is the third of these big parks not to be missed.
Image by Birger Hoppe

Pink and White Terraces

Waimangu is located near where the Pink and White Travertine 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

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

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

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

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

  2. The photos are absolutely stunning and beautiful. I will be visiting Rotorua in September and hope to capture those marvelous sights.


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