Waiotapu is a year-round destination and very popular. The peak season is the best time of the year for a good shot, but anyhow you can escape 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. We skipped the geyser and had the park almost for ourselves in the high season. 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 there 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. and arrival is advised at 9.30 a.m. If you arrive at 8.30 a.m. at the entrance and skip the geyser, you can enjoy the park for two hours without crowds.
Picture provided by Johannes Ehrhardt
Most Pleasant Weather
Best months with less rain are from January to April. Most precipitation 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. On average May is a bit drier than November. Nevertheless, even in the rain, it’s an impressive park to explore. Due to the volcanic activity and the high humidity, it was warm inside the park although it was drizzling. Opening hours and more information: Official Website of Waiotapu
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”. It 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. As soon as you enter Rotorua, you 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.
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.
Stunning drone video (below the photos): By Chris Mc Lennan