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Buried Village of Te Wairoa
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Ranked #18 of 112 things to do in Rotorua
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Experience New Zealand's most visited archaeological site where stories of the 1886 Mt Tarawera Eruption come to life! Violent and unexpected, the volcanic eruption was one of New Zealand's greatest natural disasters burying the peaceful village of Te Wairoa and ending more than 150 lives. Today at the Buried Village encounter the world class Museum of Te Wairoa, explore the Archaeological Site which once housed the people of Te Wairoa, experience the unique insights of stories from our tour guides, and take the Waterfall Trail which showcases the stunning Wairere Falls.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Love it”
Reviewed January 2, 2012

This is our third time here, this time we brought the kids. The kids loved it and our favourite part is the waterfall walk.

Visited December 2011
Thank Kiwipearls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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828 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Discovery of Buried Village”
Reviewed January 2, 2012

Good museum and friendly staff. Wet weather on the day so wet weather gear was required to navigate along the path of outdoor musuem artefacts. Lovely waterfall and yummy devonshire tea.

Visited January 2012
Thank Sharon P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
157 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“special, lovely, a little chilling”
Reviewed December 30, 2011

Out towards Lake Tarawera is this special place.

Visit the museum first as it provides useful context, and gives a thoughtful account of the village that was buried in the 1886 Tarawera eruption.

Next is a walk through the partially excavated village. You find Maori and European dwellings, and the evidence of the continuing archeological work on the site.

It's set in a grassy meadow with mature trees and ponga ferns and a trout filled stream meandering through. You can buy food to feed the greedy trout. Despite its loveliness, it's a bit chilling, knowing that 130 or so years ago this place was wiped out in a night of terror.

Extend your walk down through the waterfall cave. It's very pretty, though a bit slippery in places. The walk is neither long nor very hard, but takes enough effort to warrant a cup of tea and perhaps a scone in the cafe. Sit outside in the sun, listen to the birdsong, and reflect on nature's ability to reclaim.

The Buried Village is a special place that has a lot to offer a curious visitor. It's one of my favourite places to visit in Rotorua.

Visited June 2011
Thank Pennie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Brilliantly reconstructs the history of the eruption”
Reviewed December 29, 2011

Everything. My smaller half especially enjoyed the letters which are displayed at intervals along the walk around the village. The waterfall is spectacular and 100 steps down and 100 back up are worth it

Visited December 2011
Thank hawardTheHague
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotorua, New Zealand
1 review
“an interesting walk through the history of a village destroyed by a natural phenomenon”
Reviewed December 25, 2011

Just outside of Rotorua along a scenic drive (past the Redwoods and Lake Tarawera), the Buried Village is a hidden treasure definitely worth visiting. Based outdoors, you can take a captivating 40 min guided tour (Lyn was very interesting and knowledgeable) around the remains of a village buried 125 years ago by a volcanic eruption. There is also a beautiful waterfall walk for anyone with reasonable walking abilities (lots of steps) which was well worth the adventure and cameras are a must. The museum was packed with local Maori history which was interesting to learn about too. Ideal for all ages, you could spend a whole day here or just the afternoon.

Visited December 2011
Thank KerrySmith90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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