Have you ever wanted to experience what it must be like in middle earth or even what it could be like walking around on another planet, well if your answer is yes then you need to get yourself Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, New Zealand.
Everyone knows that Rotorua is the home of the Geothermal activity in New Zealand and it truly lives up to that status. We weren’t entirely sure what we would be expecting when we got there- maybe some mud pools, a geyser erupting if we were lucky and maybe a hole or two in the ground looking into the earth’s core. What we weren’t expecting was all the colours of the rainbow, sulphur smells and one of the most beautiful and surprising landscapes I have ever witnessed.
The first thing I liked about Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland is that it didn’t seem overly commercial like you would expect within this area. We also visited in the height of summer and whilst there was a lot of people there due to the size of the park it didn’t feel crowded. There was no queue to get in and once we started our short walk to the park we stepped into another world.
Around the park are all sorts of geothermal wonders with lots of sign posts to not only tell you what you are looking at but the science and geology behind the intriguing landscape. You will find mud pools, caves, sulphur mounds, holes in the earth, forests, lakes, pools, water in every shade of blue and many signs with a ‘dont step here it’s 100 degrees).
There are three walks that you can do around the park and I suggest you do them all so you don’t miss a thing. It’s roughly around a 5k walk but don’t let that put you off. The walks are easy but I would suggest good footwear as the paths can be a light uneven in places. We spent the best part of a day here and it was needed there was so much to see. If you can try and get there for 10.15am to see Lady Knox Geyser erupt. We didn’t get there that early and I really wish we did! There is also some mud pools 10 min drive down the road which is worth a visit. Seeing mud bubble is so captivating. I swear I was transfixed for a good 20 min.
Whilst there is so much to see I did have a couple of favourite places in the park – Artist’s Palette, The Champagne Pool, Oyster Pool, Devil’s Ink pots and the fluorescently coloured Devils Bath.
The Artist’s pallet is a place where you see the rainbow laid out horizontally. It’s contrasted so well against the grey silt on the other side of the boardwalk across the two pools. Right next to the Artist Palette is the vibrant blues and oranges of the Champagne pool.
The Devil has many places here from his (or her) home, ink pots and even a pool. The
Devils Home is a huge hole with yellow sulphur edges.The ink pots are three pools of pitch black bubbling away waiting for the devil to dip his ink pens in and do some fabulous calligraphy. As you come to the end of the park and just when you have through you have seen everything imaginable you come across this fluorescent yellow pool (#notfilter) and this is aptly named the Devil’s Bath.
This was one of the best things we did in New Zealand and it wasn’t even on our initial ‘to visit’ list we kinda of just got there by accident and I am so glad we did. Seeing nature like this really just opens your eyes up to how amazing the world really is.
-Cost NZD 32.50 adult, NZD 11 children or NZD 80 for family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children)
– You’ll get a map of the park including the walks and points of interest when you purchase a ticket
– Open all year round. In Summer make sure you have sunscreen and a hat as there are limited shaded areas and my other half got rather sun burnt
– There is a cafe, toilet facilities and gift shop.
– Located 20 min outside of Rotorua and 3.5 hours from Auckland.