Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt


Rotorua hot water pools & thermal waters, where to go

  • 4 minutes

Bay of Plenty, North Island

Rotorua top 6 geothermal hot pools & springs

Immerse yourself in the joy of soaking in warm mineral water or take in the sight of nature’s power as you witness boiling streams scalding rocks orange, red and yellow. Rotorua is one of the few places in the world where visitors can explore volcanic activity up close. It is memorising. Rotorua is a geothermal attraction that never goes out of style.

ORAKEI KORAKO (The place of Adorning)

  • Steaming cliffs, scilia-coated surfaces reminiscent of the lost Tarawera pink and white terraces
  • Great family experience where the dog is welcome

A great family trip with excitement building as you hop on the ferry for the fifteen-minute journey across Ohakuri Lake to the steaming hidden valley. The well-maintained boardwalks and wide easy steps caters for all fitness levels. The joy for dog owners is dogs are welcome on a leash. Scenes from the BBC’s Natural History Series “Walking with Dinosaurs” were filmed at Orakei Korako. Ruatapu Cave, one of only two geothermal caves known to exist in the world. Inside is a thermal pool mirroring your reflection back at you.

Hot Springs Algae, and Emerald Terrace, Orakei Korako, Rotorua, New Zealand
Hot Springs Algae, and Emerald Terrace, Orakei Korako

For a great family adventure consider the option of arriving by jet boat. Orakei Korako Thermal Safari Jet Boat. The jet boat option gives visitors an hour to explore Orakei Korako Thermal Park.


There are no hot pools for visitors to soak in. However the lakeside beach’s warm sands encourage visitors to kick off their shoes and wriggle their toes in the warm water. Take care it can be hot.

Boiling hot spring surrounded by ferns Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Park, Rotorua, New Zealand
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Park


  • Indulge in a soak surrounded by native bush with bird song
  • Short easy walks
  • Family-friendly with toddlers pool and beach area
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Cafe and restaurant on-site

Home to Te Manaroa Springs is a beautifully landscaped destination with geothermal eco-trails describing the geological and botanical highlights. A highlight is watching emerging hot misting spring water discharge into the Otamakokore Stream that winds its way downstream leaving a trail of calcite formations. There is a very popular campground adjacent to the pools.

Lake Rotomahana & Waimangu Volcanic Valley

  • Guided kayaking to cliffs steaming with streams of boiling water cascading down the sides is a highlight
  • The newness of the landscape, the aftermath of an earthquake, and its destructive force is thought-provoking
  • The quiet of a protected reserve echoes with the sound of bird life

Take a boat trip across a lake to witness how a massive 1886 volcanic eruption permanently altered the landscape. The world is shaped by the earth’s core of energy and here is a chance to view the aftermath of a nineteenth-century seismic event.

Spectacular volcanic craters, enormous hot water springs, beautiful geothermal features, rare and unusual plant life, and vivid silica rocks are spectacular. There are guided or self-guided walks. There is an on-site cafe and gift shop.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand
Waimangu Volcanic Valley


Access either by boat or driving to 587 Waimangu Road, Rotorua. You are able to drive or cycle to Waimangu. Visitors without their own transport can book a local shuttle bus from Rotorua to Waimangu and return.



The adventure starts getting there. The hot springs are mostly accessed by float plane, boat or private charter. Exclusivity and off the beaten-track vibe is matched with a choice of six pools, sliding whizzing guests into the cool lake waters. Kayaking the lake has the makings of a great day trip from Rotorua. Lake Rotoiti Hot Pools overlook the lake and bush clad hills.


Water Taxi Service to the hot pools operates on the weekends between 4 pm-6 pm, or by appointment for large groups. The water taxi departs from the VR Rotorua Lake Resort in Okawa Bay.


Rustic charm of yesteryear. There are no classy suites or change facilities, rather a simple painted wooden board pointing to changing rooms. The large open air pool is full of locals enjoying a daily soak. There are wide grassed areas to relax on and picnicking is encouraged. The springs are authentic as Rotorua. It is very unlikely you will meet a tourist bus. The springs are an important part of the history of local tribes Ngāti Tamateatutahi Kawiti, Ngāti Te Rangiunuora and Ngāti Pikiao whanui. Historically the springs have served as a resource for healing, relaxation, wananga (educational forums), food preparation and preparation of flax. Flax was regularly prepared with the warm mineral waters ensuring the weaving bundles were smooth and polished.

Location: 59 Manawahe Rd, Lake Rotoma. Admission fees apply.

Kakahi Falls, Hells Gate geothermal park, Rotorua, North island of New Zealand
Kakahi Falls, Hells Gate geothermal park


Oddly glorious, gloopy mud slithering over the skin. The healing properties of the geothermal mud and sulphur-laced water is an age old tradition. Your skin pores are opened and the massaged mud exfoliates and cleanses the skin. You feel energised as the skin relaxes as you soak in the sulphur spa. Afterwards a cool plunge pool to finish the treatment. Walk around Hells Gate and find the largest hot waterfall Kakahi, steaming cliffs and plopping boiling mud pools. Enjoy a hangi cooked in the thermal waters and find mud soaps and exfoliates to take home. It’s easy to choose the special gift at Hells Gate.

The two other notable geothermal attractions are Te Puia geothermal centre. With its geysers and restaurant overlooking the stunning night displays of nature under well placed lighting. Then Whakarewarewa Maori village is the embodiment of Maori culture in the living village where life has co-existed with the thermal energy for over 800 years.

Rotorua is jaw dropping magnificence. Unique, natural power together with beautiful lakes is the recipe for a perfect holiday destination.


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

Related articles


If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.