Walk through a volcanic landscape to see large silica terraces, mud pools and the only geothermal cave in New Zealand.
Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave has some of the most active geysers of any of the geothermal parks in New Zealand. The dynamic thermal area also encompasses hot springs, bubbling pools of mud and a geothermal cave.
The natural attraction is situated on the Waikato River at Orakei Korako and features more than 250 hot springs and geysers. Go on a self-guided tour of the thermal park by walking along the wooden trails and by taking the native bush tracks. They will bring you close to geysers and mud pools, openings in the Earth’s crust from which steam and gases emerge. The walk takes between 1 and 2 hours and is considered to be suitable for all ages.
Make your way over to Ruatopu Cave, which is also known as The Sacred Hole. This is the only geothermal cave in New Zealand and one of two in the entire world. The cave falls to a depth of over 118 feet (36 meters) and at the bottom are the warm, acidic waters of the Waiwhakaata (Pool of Mirrors). Access to the cave is prohibited so peer into the cavernous space from the viewing platform.
At the bottom of the park are four silica terraces, which are created by thermal waters that flow from beneath the surface of the Earth. They are thought to be the largest of their kind after a volcanic eruption destroyed the Pink and White Terraces in 1886. Marvel at their colours, which are caused by algae and the silica-rich waters. The lowest terrace is the Emerald Terrace and each day up to 5.3 million gallons (20 million liters) of water can flow over it and into Lake Ohakuri.
Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave is a 25-minute drive from Taupo and 45 minutes from Rotorua. Access to the site is by a short ferry trip across the lake, which departs from the Visitor Centre. Admission prices include the ferry ride and there are discounts for families. Children under 6 years of age get in for free.