Get close to volcanic wonders and experience the geothermal power of the center of New Zealand's picturesque North Island.
Make Wairakei your home base when you want to explore the geothermal power of the Earth. See bubbling mud pools, silica terraces and geysers, the result of one of the most violent volcanic eruptions of the last 5,000 years. Approximately 1,800 years ago Taupo Volcano erupted, sending plumes 31 miles (50 kilometers) into the air.
Wairakei is a small town north of Taupo in the Central Volcanic Plateau, close to a highly active geothermal area. Sightsee the geothermal valleys, silica terraces and geysers of Orakei Korako Geothermal Park and Cave.
Discover more examples of the impressive power of nature at Wairakei Tourist Park. Here you can go on a boardwalk tour of the Craters of the Moon, a landscape of boiling mud craters and steam vents. Then watch mighty surges of water at Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids.
The tourist park also features a number of outdoor activities to get the heart pumping, including wakeboarding at Anarchy Boarding Park, a rope course and 50 miles (80 kilometers) of mountain bike tracks. For some leisurely sporting activity, play the 18 holes of the Wairakei Golf Course, which is spread across 445 acres (180 hectares)) of the Wairakei Geothermal Park.
After your activities, soothe your body in the thermal pools of Wairakei Terraces. Then stroll along the walkway to see the man-made geysers and man-made silica terraces. Along the way, you will pass by carvings that depict local Maori history and culture. While you are here, go to the recreated Maori village and pick up insights into how the Maori people have used the thermal pools for healing. You can also see traditional tattooing and weaving, learn about the culture and try a traditional barbecue.
With a number of accommodation options and its close proximity to natural attractions, Wairakei is a superb choice for an active and fun-filled holiday. This spectacular location is 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) from the center of Taupo, a 3-hour scenic drive from Auckland and a 4.5-hour drive from Wellington.