Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
4.5
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
"One of the 20 Most Surreal Places in the World" Trip Advisor THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN THE MAKING, explore spectacular nature at New Zealand's most colourful natural volcanic area. Walk at your own pace - view the unique Champagne Pool, Sinter Terrace formations, Steaming Ground, Bubbling Mud, Expansive Vistas, Huge Volcanic Craters. The Lady Knox Geyser erupts daily at 10.15am. Excellent facilities at modern Visitor Centre. We are a cashless site, accepting all major credit and EFTPOS cards.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
See what travelers are saying
  • happykoabug
    Honolulu, Hawaii600 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome attraction
    A must do attraction when visiting New Zealand. There are only 5 locations in the world that have mudpots, geyers, hot springs, and other thermal activities together in one location. The colors of the ponds and lakes are surreal. There are 3 different trails to take in the main park area, ranging from easy to moderate. I was able to do all three within 1.5 hours, though I was walking fast since I was on a tour and was allotted 2 hours for the main park area and I wanted to see everything. Plenty of clean bathrooms and there is a small gift shop and cafe for snacks and drinks. One person on our tour said that the cafe only took credit cards.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 6, 2023
  • Elizabeth W
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I've never seen anything like it!
    Walking through the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland was an experience like no other. It's so amazing to see the dramatic differences from one spot to the next. We went on a cloudy day, and so some of the colors weren't as vibrant as I'd hoped, but, even with the cloud coverage, this was a 10/10 experience.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 13, 2023
  • LSQRD1
    Kent, Ohio824 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Expansive and awesome
    We really enjoyed our visit to Wai-O-Tapu. Before going make sure you check the days of the week and hours they are open, and plan accordingly. There is quite a lot of ground to cover and loop trails of varying lengths. There not so many other visitors when we were there and we definitely saw some unique features. We have been to thermal areas in other countries and these are right up there with the most interesting ones.
    Visited June 2023
    Written August 20, 2023
  • Jane C
    185 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Epic
    Easy to spent a half day or more here. Plenty of walking if you want to see everything and the sights are varied. Great place to see the thermal areas of this region. Not suitable for people with mobility issues. Can visit just the mud pools for free as they are just up the road. These are assessable to all abilities. The geyser is also at a seperate location to the main site. It is manipulated to go off at a certain time daily and you need a ticket to get to the area. If you ask at the ticket counter at the main site they can mark your ticket for use the next day for the geyser if you missed it.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 24, 2023
  • Trail586825
    10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great family experience
    We loved this experience with our 13 and 11 year old. So many interesting things to see. Sadly we arrived too late for the geyser and talk ( only happens once per day) but still felt the price was appropriate for the walks wedding. Lots of walking so would not recommend for people with mobilty issues or very small children who want to run.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 27, 2023
  • Kiwi A
    New Plymouth, New Zealand101 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lots of colour and steam
    It's definitely worth a visit, with a variety of landscapes and geothermal wonders to see. There are three walks you can do: 45 minutes, 60 minutes or 90 minutes - I did the 45min-walk and that was plenty. I also saw the Lady Knox Geyser, which isn't much to see: it's set off in a way that makes me wonder about the health and safety of the staff, and lasts for maybe two minutes? Worth seeing if you're there for the morning show but the real selling point is the thermal wonderland walk. There's a cafe and toilets on-site, and plenty of parking.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 1, 2023
  • Exploration826854
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must visit when in Rotorua!
    Stunning! A must when visiting Rotorua! Not too far from downtown Rotorua. Took about an hour to go through the park, including the geyser. I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park in the United States and while it had similarities, it was uniquely beautiful and well worth my time.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written October 6, 2023
  • kylie w
    Sydney, Australia6 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see in NZ
    This is an astonishing place to visit. Well worth the effort. there isn't any point getting there before 10:00am as the safety talk etc all occurs at the Lady Knox Geyser. It doesn't start right on 10am so if you are short on time it's worth planning around this. Some people walked from the entry building to the Geyser which is in a different direction but it's longer than you imagine and most walkers had to grab a lift with one of the passing cars, not a walk for children. We had a wonderful time as a family and even with lots of people in the park it never feels crowded. They didn't have maps available which was a pity, you could take a picture of a map they had on display but that didn't really work. It is ceratinly different to the other geo thermal sites we saw and were really glad we had gone. It's all easy walking and well set up.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 9, 2023
  • UdayDesai
    Vadodara, India74 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice Visit
    We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Thermal park. We reached in time for the Lady Knox Geyser at 10.15 am. The best part was the Artist Palette pool during the first loop walk. Lovely colours!
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written November 8, 2023
  • Pippa H
    London, United Kingdom82 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating geology - must see
    Beautiful and fascinating geology. If you're in the area you should definitely go here to understand more about the geothermal activity in the area and see some beautiful geysers. There are multiple route options depending on how long you want to stay for, although it you have time I would recommend doing the longest one as some of the cooler stuff is at the end, like the green lake.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 10, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles8,761 reviews
Excellent
5,465
Very good
2,598
Average
532
Poor
111
Terrible
55

Rob A
London, UK32 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
The biggest disappointment of our trip. The geyser was a farce as it was activated by a member of staff pouring some powder into the geyser’s opening to induce the eruption which didn’t so much erupt as just froth a bit. Absolute waste of time - I’d recommend going straight to the sulphur pools while the hordes of tourists are watching the geyser show. The pools themselves - relatively ok, not amazing. If you’re in the area and need something to do to kill time then I’d visit here, otherwise I wouldn’t bother in the slightest.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BC
Denver, CO142 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
Went this morning to start by seeing the Lady Knox Geyser with plans to then do the 90 minute walk around the thermal features. Should have known what was in store for us when we saw a long line of cars trying to access the parking lot. Then after paying the entrance fee, we had to get back in our car and drive to the Lady Knox Geyser parking. Sat there with several hundred other people to watch a guide put soap down into the geyser to make it erupt. This has happened so many times over the years that the geyser is caked with white soapy residue- it actually looks fake. So after it erupts for a few seconds, theres a mad dash back to the parking lot to jump in your car and drive back down to the 1st parking lot to try to get a spot, then start the walk with several hundred other tourists. If you like crowds, congestion, confusion, and a logistical nightmare, this is the place for you. We chose to leave and instead visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley which was absolutely beautiful.
Written January 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mujer_rebelde
Köln56 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
We went there in mid-January. The colours of the geothermal lakes are not as vibrant during the summer months as they are in winter which was a bit of a disappointment. Walkways easy but one section was closed. Quite boring when you have been to Orakei Korako and/or Waimangu Volcanic Valley which both feel much more like natural surroundings. The worst part of Wai-O-Tapu though is the Lady Knox Geysir where hundreds of people gather to see the geysir (after being triggered with organic soap) shoot up 20 metres into the air for up to an hour. By no means! The whole spectacle went on for about 20 seconds and the geysir reached not even half a metre in height. A truly pathetic sight. The whole audience was left stunned about this lame show. Do not go there unless you like to be ripped off. There are much better places around.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kinx81
Vancouver Island, Canada791 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Couples
Bought our tickets online through their website. Easy. That way we could drive straight to the Lady Knox Geyser to see it erupt at 10:15 am. It is prompted to erupt by the workers adding surfactant to the cone, but still a cool display nonetheless. You get about a 5 min talk explaining the history and significance.
Getting back in the car we drove down to the visitor centre to get our tickets scanned and a map of the park. Clean bathrooms, cafe and drinking water fountain to fill your bottles.
The geothermal Park was much bigger than I expected and we enjoyed walking the easy trails to see the different pools and craters. Excellent signage. Make sure you walk all the way to the end otherwise you’ll miss a beautiful lake and small waterfall.
Cafe served a soup and cheese bread deal for $7. Great value. Definitely recommend getting a snack here after your walk.

Locals should get out and check out these beautiful sights in our own backyard! We drove from Hamilton and also enjoyed the Waikite hot pools afterwards, about 6 km away.
Written July 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

D&M
Perth, Australia421 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
Thought we would make sure to get here well in advance of Lady Knox Geyser’s 10.15am performance. Well hundreds of others had the same idea and there was a scramble for car parks and perfect positioned seating around the geyser. I wondered how Mother Nature makes this geyser blow at the same time every day until I was surprised by a staff member dumping some sort of soap stimulant into the spout of the geyser to get it to perform. No exactly what we we’re expecting??? Was disappointed waiting all that time for about a 3 minute performance. Moved onto the thermal park with all the crowds which was a little more interesting. A very well laid out land with easy access to the thermal craters, pools and lakes. Our favourite was the mud pools. Soft sludgy bubbling mud making all sorts of funny and disgusting noises. Could have sat there for an hour watching nature make these pools of mud bubble. This was well worth seeing. Overall a good experience but not better than Waimangu Volcanic Park.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sue E
Yukon, Canada221 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
The walk through the pools was very interesting with good interpretive signage. The actual geyser and mud pool was a bit of a let down. The geyser was filled with soap flakes which did add to the effect and smelled better than sulphur. The gift shop was excellent but the service at the cafe was glacially slow. Educational experience that was well worth it. Important to note that if you booked online or you have a coupon from your tour company you should check in with the visitor center for before you see the geyser. You should allow yourself enough time for that. Parking is limited both at the geyser and at the visitor center around 10a.m.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Valerie
Willenhall, UK69 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
When we arrived around 3pm paid money to get in, only to be informed the geyser was not open only open morning. I was sad that we were not told before payment.
We went around I have to say it was incredible to see the craters and try to understand how they happened. I got around with my elbow crutches ok.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend you go and see for yourself.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Raech
Rotorua, New Zealand318 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
10.15am is Lady Knox time! Purchase tickets before driving to Lady Knox geyser. Leave Rotorua by 9.10am to get your tickets from the Wai-o-tapu visitors center, then drive back to the geyser, park and walk. Or buy your tickets online, then drive directly to the geyser, and show the park attendant your ticket on your phone. The geyser is not in the main park - it’s down a different side road. We encountered long traffic queues and only just made it. Definitely visit the whole park afterwards. The coffee at the cafe was average. Take water with you if it’s a hit day. We did the full walk and were there for 2 hours! Worth it!
Written January 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chiara
18 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020 • Couples
Make sure you get there when it opens to enjoy a coffee at the café before the visit (the barista made me one of the best coffee I ever had in my life, thanks lovely:) and to experience the blowing of the Lady Knox Gayser at 10am. It was really interesting to listen to the stories behind it narrated by one of the lovely staff members for us. The park is well kept and you can experience different geothermal activities (not only the champagne pool but also the impressive colours of the oyster pool, the fluo green lake, the different shapes created by the blow holes and many other things). I didn't give 5* just because I think the price for the entrance could be a little bit cheaper. Thanks team!
Written June 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travelsaroundUSA
Cambridge, MA101 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
If you've been to Yellowstone, Lassen, or the geothermal areas in Iceland, this is similar. There are 3 different loops that can be combined to allow you to visit quickly or a bit slower. I recommend doing all of them. There are some steps, especially on the third loop. Lots of different types of geothermal features - mud pots, springs, steam vents, colorful pools, etc.

Great gift shop at the start of the trail. Also, recommend visiting the mud pots a few minutes north of the main area.
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 7,139
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All Rotorua HotelsRotorua Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Rotorua
All things to do in Rotorua
Day Trips in Rotorua
RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars