Suitable for all ages
Often considered to be one of the best and most spectacular of the thermal parks, it can get busy with tourist groups, especially if the weather is good. It is a big outlay for a whole family but Waiotapu is actually one of the cheaper thermal parks in Rotorua and if your kids are sufficiently interested and are happy to walk around the many tracks, you could end up spending several hours here.
There are 3 recommended routes to take in the thermal features, with the shortest one being a 1.5km loop to/from the Visitors’ Centre. The longer walks are paths that include this initial track but go further into the park (2km or 3km walks). The paths are buggy friendly for the most part – the shortest walk shouldn’t cause any problems but you’ll need to watch for some steps on the 2 longer routes. You can expect to see vibrantly coloured pools, an active geyser (although it’s only activated once a day at a separate site which you’ll need to drive to for 10.15am) and lots of steam and bubbling mud! There are also areas of bush and some bridges which make you feel like you’re walking out over the thermal activity. On these tracks especially, kids will need to be closely monitored as there are no barriers.
If you’re wanting to plan your day or see whether it’s worth a trip, try looking at a map of the thermal park here so you can see exactly what’s on offer.
There is a self-service cafe located within the Visitors’ Centre but you could also take your own picnic and eat it at one of the picnic tables provided near the Visitors’ Centre. Nappy changing facilities available but TOP TIP: make sure everyone goes to the toilet before you set out into the thermal park, as toilets are only located around the Visitors’ Centre.
Related tagsBay of Plenty, Outside, Rotorua, Taupo, Waikato
Tel: 07 366 6333
Address: 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, Rotorua. Just off SH5, about 20 minutes south of Rotorua and 40 minutes north of Taupo. Ample parking onsite.
Open: daily including all Public Holidays. April-October 8:30am-5:00pm (last admission 3:45pm), November-March 8:30am-6:00pm (last admission 4:45pm), Christmas Day 8:30 am-5:00 pm (last admission 3:45pm).
TOP TIP: Plan to arrive with plenty of time to see the geyser in action – the talk starts at 10.15am and it’s a few minutes drive away from the main site.
Price: Adults $32.50, Kids (5-15 years) $11, Family Pass $80 (2A+3K). Preschoolers under 5 FREE.