In 1886 Mount Tarawera erupted in a devastating explosion of ash and lava, ripping the mountain in
two and gouging a 17 kilometre rift into the landscape. Lake Rotomahana swelled to twenty times
its size and the seven craters that make up the geothermal utopia that is Waimangu, were created.
Waimangu Valley, being the youngest geothermal site in the world, shows off the beauty left behind
after a volcanic eruption. Thirty years after the explosion, plant life returned in abundance and the
hot pools and springs display multicoloured rock and amazing coloured water
In the Maori language Waimangu means "black water". The area was once the location of the most
powerful geyser in the world; spewing black mud 460 metres (1,500 ft) into the air. While
the geyser became extinct in 1904, this beautiful valley still bears the name Waimangu. The Waimangu
Volcanic Valley is a 20 minute trip south from Rotorua that must not be missed.
The Emerald Pools
The Emerald Pools sit in one of the craters left behind by the 1886 Tarawera eruption,
nestled amongst stunning native bushland. The lush green colour of the pools is the result of
sphagnum moss, once used in healing for its extracting properties.
Former Waimangu guide Alfred Warbrick placed sandbags to slow the discharge of a spring, resulting
in this visual masterpiece. The terrace is a rolling formation of what looks like multicoloured liquid
rock; its colours a blend of gold, black, grey and rust. The unusual colouration is the result of algae,
iron oxide, hydroxide and silicate deposits.
Steaming Crater Lakes
Also worth a look are the other unique and beautiful crater lakes in the valley. Watch steam rise from
the tantalisingly blue Inferno Crater, and hear the crackling and sizzling of Frying Pan Lake.
See a complete list of Waimangu Volcanic Valley activities.
This week's featured activities in Waimangu Volcanic Valley are:
Day Tour - Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Prime Rotorua tourist attraction, Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers self guided tours through spectacular geothermal activity in the world's youngest geothermal system. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is home to wonderful plant and bird life, thermal hot springs, steaming cliffs, volcanic craters and many more geothermal features.We are just 20 minutes South of Rotorua and 40 minutes North of Taupo. More...
All-day Coach Tour - Rotorua - Starting from $250.00 per person
Tour Rotorua's most popular geothermal parks and colorful lakes on a day trip led by a local naturalist guide. You'll see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt, visit the Lake Tarawera lookout and see boiling mud pools and hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu. Along the way, you'll learn all about volcanology, New Zealand's stunning flora and fauna, and Maori history from your naturalist guide. More...
Air Tour - Rotorua - Starting from $215.00 per person
Fly high over breathtaking volcanic landscapes on an unforgettable 30-minute seaplane flight from Rotorua. See New Zealand's world-famous volcanic scenery as you fly over spectacular Mt. Tarawera, the Blue and Green Lakes, and the gurgling geysers of Whakarewareewa Thermal Reserve. Flying at a time to suit you, this scenic air tour will fit into even the busiest of itineraries. More...
Half-day Coach Tour - Rotorua - Starting from $145.00 per person
Explore the technicolor hot springs of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland on a guided half-day tour of New Zealand’s most extensive geothermal site. Walk along well-groomed trails that skirt volcanic craters and natural hot pools in a surreal range of vibrant colors. Witness the daily eruption of the Lady Knox Geyser and take in the highlights of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Small-group tour limited to a maximum of 12 people allows for a more customized experience with your expert guide. More...