WAIOTAPU AND ORAKEI KORAKO
Between Rotorua and Taupo lie two iconic geothermal wonderlands; Waiotapu and Orakei Korako , both an easy drive from either city.
Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Waiotapu is New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse geothermal attraction. Wai-O-Tapu means “Sacred
Water” and it is easy to see why. Hot pools range in hues of turquoise blue and rich green to burnt orange and sulphuric yellow, making the steaming waters of Waiotapu a dazzling mustsee. Experience unique sinter terrace formations clad in primal native bush, spectacular views over mysterious craters, erupting mud pools, as well as world famous attractions, Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser, Artist’s Palette, Primrose Terrace and boiling mud pools.
Spread over 18 hectares and just 20 minutes’ drive south of Rotorua and 40 minutes north of Taupo , Waiotapu is one of themost extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand.
Go a little further off the beaten track and away from the throngs and you’ll discover Orakei Korako – The Hidden Valley- with its fabulous silica terraces, believed to be the largest of their kind since the destruction of the famous Pink and White Terraces in Mt Tarawera eruption in 1886. The jade green Emerald Terrace is the lowest and the three terraces above it were formed by a huge earthquake in 131AD. The Golden Fleece is the largest at 40m long and 5m high, covered in a stunning white sinter coating, its Maori name is Te Kapua – The Cloud.
Orakei Korako is New Zealand’s largest geyser field and sits on the edge of Lake Ohakuri, on theWaikato River. A ferry takes you across the lake to this untouched geothermal paradise where you wander through native bush with dozens of active natural geysers and boiling hot-pools all around you.