Rotorua Visitor Guide - - News -

Where else could you find thermal foot pools; a raised and railed walk­ing trail amid Manuka scrub and se­ri­ous hiss­ing, steam­ing, bub­bling vol­canic ac­tiv­ity in­clud­ing a broil­ing lake; a beau­ti­ful duck pond sur­rounded by na­tive and ex­otic gar­dens, plus a chil­dren’s pad­dling pool and play­ground in the mid­dle of town and all com­pletely free? Pos­si­bly the only place in the world is at Ro­torua’s fa­mous Kuirau park.

Sit­u­ated along Ranolf Street and between Lake Road and Puku­atua Street, Kuirau Park is a favourite with lo­cals and tourists alike. Many lo­cal res­i­dents can tell a tale of a youth­ful clan­des­tine swim in the park’s won­der­ful steam­ing foot pools.

But take care to stay within the cool side of the side of the safety fences. When we say it’s an ac­tive geothermal area, we re­ally mean it! In 2001 a new steam vent an­nounced its ar­rival in the world by spew­ing mud and rocks 10 me­tres up into the air. Two years later it hap­pened on­ce­more. Who can tell when it might hap­pen again?

Le­gend has it that in the past, the park’s boil­ing lake used to be much cooler and had the name of ‘Taokahu’. Tamahika, the son of Tutea who was the first person to set up a home at the spot, had a beau­ti­ful wife called Kuirau. One day, when the beau­ti­ful maiden was bathing in the lake, a Tani­wha (mon­ster) grabbed her and dragged her down to his wa­tery lair be­low the lake.

The gods saw the strug­gle between Kuirau and the Tani­wha, and be­came an­gry at the au­dac­ity of the wa­ter mon­ster. They used their pow­ers to make the lake boil so that the Tani­wha would be de­stroyed for­ever. Un­for­tu­nately, this also killed Tamahika’s wife, so from that time the lake and the park sur­round­ing it has been known as Kuirau ion her le­gacy.

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