Skip to Content

The weird colours of Rotorua’s Wai-O-Tapu // In pictures

Wai O Tapu thermal wonderland, Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand

There’s a lot going on under the surface in New Zealand, and one of the island’s geothermal hotspots (in more ways than one) is Rotorua. Outside the city, Wai-O-Tapu (meaning ‘Sacred Waters’ in Maori) is billed as a ‘thermal wonderland’ – a theme park where the attractions are all natural, even though you sometimes feel like you’re on another planet. Walking routes around the park take you past bubbling mud, sulphur waterfalls, steaming vents and lakes in neon oranges, yellows and greens, given their colour by mineral deposits. Some of the highlights are the Champagne Pool, where tiny bubbles make it look like a huge lake of bubbly, and the Lady Knox Geyser. Though you need to time your visit well to watch her erupt – she only goes off once a day, at 10.15am, shooting out boiling water 20 metres into the air.

Steaming lake at Wai O Tapu
Champagne pools at Wai O Tapu
Wai O Tapu lake
Geyser at Wai O Tapu

The details

Wai-O-Tapu is about a 20-minute drive from Rotorua. It’s open from 8.30am until 5pm from April–October and 6pm from November–March. Entry costs $32.50 NZD for adults and $11 for children aged 5–11.

Pin it

The weird colours of Rotorua’s Wai-O-Tapu – On the Luce travel blog


Thursday 11th of September 2014

love your blog!! you are so inspiring to other travel bloggers!

Lucy Dodsworth

Thursday 11th of September 2014

Thanks so much!


Friday 2nd of August 2013

Wow, what a unique and fascinating place. Love the colours in your photos. The world we live in is so full of beauty.

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 5th of August 2013

It's a mad place isn't it – such a strange landscape it looks like you could be on another planet.


Monday 6th of August 2012

Wow- I arrive here as your 218th "liker" Lucy! And it's no surprise with great posts like this one.

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 6th of August 2012

Thanks's Jo, this was on Wordpress' Freshly Pressed so I had a bit of a busy day! Back to normality now though!


Saturday 21st of July 2012

I would like to visit this awesome place.


Sunday 15th of July 2012

i've been to that place long ago and yes, they're magnificent. as magnificent as your pics!

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 16th of July 2012

Hope you enjoyed your trip there too!