Steam surges from the ground of this active geothermal valley, which rises up from boiling mud and colorful hot pools. As well as boasting geothermal phenomena, Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley features a camping ground with small animals such as chickens and sheep.
While making your way around the thermal walk that encircles Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley, you can use a thermometer to determine just how hot the ground beneath your feet really is. Information boards explain how a nearby power station harnesses geothermal energy for the grid. The thermal valley is sometimes visited on day trips from Taupo, which also tend to cover the Wairakei Terraces and Huka Prawn Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley is a must for visitors who want to see New Zealand’s otherworldly thermal landscapes firsthand.
- There’s a café at the site.
- Wear walking shoes and bring a rain jacket as the weather can be changeable.
How to Get There
Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley is situated near the intersection of state highways 1 and 2. From Taupo, drive north along the Thermal Explorer Highway for about 10 minutes. In order to avoid navigating unfamiliar roads, opt for a day trip with round-trip transfers.
When to Get There
The best time to camp is during the drier summer season, though the geothermal activity is typically more visible in spring, fall, and winter. The thermal walk is rarely crowded, so you can arrive whenever suits your schedule.
Bathe in Mineral Waters
While the high temperatures and unpredictable nature of the pools at the Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley make them unsuitable for swimming, it’s possible to soak in mineral-rich waters at the man-made pools of Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa. Fed by hot water transported via a silica fountain, these pools offer a safe way to experience the benefits of the area’s waters.