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Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

sydney
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Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

Kia Ora,

We will be in Rotorua in April just after Easter (school holiday) and would like to see a thermal area which I think will entertain the kids especially my 5 year old (nearly 6) who loves everything about volcanoes and is very much into science at the moment.

We will only have one day and will be driving from Taupo. I was thinking about stoping at:

- Craters of the Moon on our way out from Taupo in the morning and go for a short walk there (1 hour)

- and then drive the thermal highway and stop at either:

- Te Puia for the combined Thermal and Cultural experience

- OR the Hidden Valley which seems to be a bit off the beaten track?

- or Wai-O-Tupe or Waimangi?

We would prefer one that is not too big, easily do-able with the kids, but also not too commercial if possible, we like going bushwalking and enjoying nature which is why I was thinking about going to the Hidden Valley?

On the other hand Te Puia sounds great too since we will have a small insight into the Maori Culture?

Hard to decide! Thanks for your tips.

New Zealand
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1. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

IMO the best two we have been to is wai-o-tapu and Orakei Korako

California
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2. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

If you are going to go to one of the larger thermal parks, Craters of the Moon will be a disappointment. I would spend that hour going to Aratiatia Rapids to coincide with the water release.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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3. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

For younger children, Wai O Tapu is more suitable, and very colourful. OK has some wooden steps, but is located within a magical setting with some different features to the other thermal parks.

Te Puia is wonderful for its arts and culture, and its small thermal park is still neat - even after exploring the bigger thermal areas.

Waimangu has some steeper walking tracks and can be quite tiring in between the various sites of thermal activity.

Feilding, New...
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4. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

Kuirau Park in central Rotorua is free to walk around and has a 'steaming' lake, bubbling mud pools, thermal foot baths and, on a Saturday, a market. It is surrounded by lovely gardens and there is also a children's play area. Paradise valley, Rainbow Springs, and the Agrodome are also great for kids. Check at your accommodation or the I site for combination tour prices.

sydney
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5. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

Thank you all for your advice, very helpful!

Is there any other place where we can learn more about the Maori culture in this area? Like a museum? We do not want a village stay or evening show with the kids though.

I have been searching the web but apart from Te Puia all I could find are village stays.

Thanks again.

Feilding, New...
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6. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

The Rotorua Museum is an iconic building with a very good display of Rotorua history: from Maori culture and legends: Tarawera eruption (short film but could be frightening for small children) ; how Rotorua developed as a tourist mecca; several short films showing in a variety of areas in the building; often art displays and a good café. There is also a look out over the Government Gardens. There is a charge but IMO it is well worth visiting to allow you to get a good perspective on the area and the people.

sydney
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7. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

Great, thank you. I will take your advice re Museum and Kuira Park. I was hoping we could go to the Auckland Museum as well but I don't think we will have enough time.

I am now thinking about spreading the activities across 2 days:

Day 1: we will start our day in Taupo (sleep in Taupo). So morning, do the Craters of the Moon walk then drive to the Hidden Valley, explore and have lunch there. Then drive to Wai-O-Tupo, spend a couple of hours there and camp at Waikite Thermal Valley Campground.

Day 2: Visit Te Puia in the morning and then head off to Waihi Beach via Tauranga.

Is it too much for the kids on Day 1? Should we skip the Hidden Valley?

I have heard that the road to get there is beautiful? We like remote locations, in the country.

Thanks again!

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

Call me crazy but for bubbling mud pits for the kids, I liked the local park in Rotorua and it was free.

Feilding, New...
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9. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

I suggested that,Denali68 and I feel visiting Craters of the Moon, Orakei Korako (Hidden Valley) and Waiotapu in one day is too much for the kids.

I suggest Huka Falls, Honey factory, Aratiatia ( 10am or 12), Waiotapu and Waikite on Day 1.

Day 2 Rotorua Museum, Kuirau Park, Ohinemutu Maori Village (close to Kuirau) and then drive to Tauranga and Waihi ( possibly stop at Katikati to view the murals and take the river walk). You can take the shorter route HW36 known as Tauranga Direct Road or drive through Te Puke to Mt Maunganui (beach), through Tauranga to Waihi Beach.

Hope the weather is as sunny as today but being April there will probably be a nip in the air. Many of the suggestions are still possible to view on a rainy day.

10. Re: Best thermal area with 2 small kids aged 2 and 5?

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