Stretching all the way from the Great Lake Taupo to Rotorua, the Taupo Volcanic Zone is one of New Zealand’s most famous volcanic regions. Here’s what to expect on a visit, from dramatic craters and bubbling mud pools to steaming geysers.
The Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park is one of the country’s largest and most impressive thermal parks, featuring a colorful landscape of fault-stepped silica terraces, hissing geysers, and naturally heated thermal pools. Adventurous travelers can even arrive by jet boat, zipping along the Waikato River through Tutukau Gorge.
Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley
A short drive northeast of Lake Taupo, the Wairakei Valley boasts a wealth of natural wonders, with popular attractions including the Craters of the Moon and Huka Falls. Don’t miss a visit to the Wairakei Terraces, where the silica terraces offer a dreamy backdrop for a dip in the steamy hot pools.
Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley
Located in Te Puia, just south of Rotorua, the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley is teeming with hot springs, some of which are open for bathing (others are so hot, they’re used to boil food). Additional highlights include a Kiwi bird sanctuary, the Te Puia Maori Arts and Culture Institute, and the Pohutu and Te Horu geysers.
Located along the road to Rotorua, the Waikite Valley thermal pools offer family-friendly hot pools fed by mineral-rich geothermal waters, as well as private pools available for hire. Alternatively, head to nearby Kerosene Creek, where you can take a dip for free.