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Waiotapu is a year-round destination and very popular. The peak season is the best time of the year for a good shot, and there is a way to dodge the crowds. Read on for our tips about the best time to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Less crowded in autumn and spring. May and November may be a good choice to escape the crowds. To enjoy the park almost alone during the peak season we skipped the geyser. They let the geyser erupt with surfactant every morning at 10.15 am. It's recommended to be at the geyser parking area around 9.30. The Waiotapu area is pretty huge, and you have to walk a lot. The geyser is not directly situated inside the park. You need to take your car to get to the geyser eruption and back to the main park entrance. Therefore, it's less busy early morning when they open at 8.30 a.m. The geyser eruption is presented at 10.15 a.m. Enter the park early when it gets opened, skip the geyser, and enjoy the park for two hours without crowds.
Picture provided by Johannes Ehrhardt
Most Pleasant Weather
Best months with less precipitation from January to April. Most rainfall during winter and in December. Day temps from December to March are often above 20°C. November and May are worth a try, although rainfall occurs; these months can be perfect as well with temps above 15°C. Usually, May is slightly drier than November. However, even in the rain, it’s an impressive park that waits for you to get explored. Due to the volcanic activity and the high humidity, it feels warm inside the park even if it's drizzling.
Opening hours and more information: Official Website of Waiotapu
Where to Stay in Rotorua
There is an ample variety of accommodations around Rotorua. Our favorite hotel is the new Rotorua International Motor Inn. All rooms are equipped with a kitchenette. After a long day of walking relax in the hotel sauna. Although located on the main road you can sleep very well due to the double-glazed windows. Traveling on a budget; the best-rated backpacker is the Funky Green Voyager Backpackers. The rooms are super clean and spacious.
Top Tip for Transportation
If you need uber; ask for it in advance! There are a few available only!
Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland is an active geothermal park. Protected as a Scenic Reserve since 1931 and owned by the Maori. Wai-o-tapu is Maori and means “sacred waters”. Waiotapu is famous for the hot springs, the colorful Champagne Pool, the Lady Knox Geyser which erupts up to 20 meters high and the Inferno Crater Lake. The huge variety of colors originates from the specific mineral elements like the color yellow from sulfur. Waiotapu is the main attraction south of Rotorua. When you enter Rotorua, you can already smell that this is an active geothermal area.
Good to Know
- Schedule a couple of hours for the three existing loop walks to experience all stunning attractions.
- Don’t miss the bubbling mud pots outside of the park.
- There isn't any shop or facility inside of the park only at the visitor center.
- Wear proper shoes, bring a bottle of water and a sandwich.
Stunning drone video (below the photos): By Chris Mc Lennan