Waiotapu (also Wai-o-tapu) is one of the substantial thermal locations around Rotorua. Drive southeast of Rotorua on State Highway 5 for 27 kms, about 21 minutes. Access to the car park is along Waiotapu Loop Road.

The area feature is the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, a colourful and diverse geothermal landscape, and a photographer’s delight. This sits on an 18-square-km geothermal system, believed to be one of the largest in NZ. Other highlights include the 10- to 20-metre-high Lady Knox Geyser (though you have to be there at 10.15 am) and the impressive Mud Pool. This is the largest in NZ.

Like most of the best geothermal locations there is an entrance fee, but we think a trip to Rotorua is incomplete without visiting at least one or two of the commercial options. A fuller list of locations can be found here.

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