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Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

by uktxgirl Online Now Mar 21, 2010 at 3:16 PM

My husband and I will have one day and two nights in Rotorua and would like to know which option would be most worthwhile. We've never been anywhere with geothermal activity, volcanic lakes etc. and we love to walk/hike. We're not so keen on very touristy attractions. I think we might be leaning toward the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, but we're open to any recommendations. Also, is it possible to pay one entrance fee and do all the hikes/walks in the Waimungu Valley, or are they all separate?

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  • earthflyer's Profile Photo

    Re: Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    by earthflyer Online Now Mar 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    It's been 10 years since I was last in New Zealand.

    One of the highlights of my trip there was hiking up Mt Tarawera, somewhere near Rotorua. That is a good day hike with excellent views all round and you can scree down into the extinct Volcano.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Mar 22, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Wai-o-tapu would be my number one place, then Orakei Korako (closer to Taupo), then Waimangu. All places are stunning. Wai-o-tapu is my favourite because it is the most colourful geothermal site and has more specific features, including an impressive geyser, and, as said, all colours you can imagine. Waimangu is a bigger area, and they have boating and whatsoever which you do not have at Wai-o-tapu, but to me it cannot outclass Wai-o-tapu.

    Both places you suggested are fantastic, and whichever you choose, you will be delighted, I am sure. They are different but magnificent. However, they are both touristy, of course, you cannot avoid that.

    Wai-o-tapu is an ancient site, whereas Waimangu has only been created as recently as a bit more than one hundred years ago.

    Once you pay the entry fee at Waimangu you can do all walks in the valley.

    What amazes me is - as I have just had a look at their website - where they hide their entry fees.

    Mt. Tarawera that was suggested earlier is only accessible on guided tours whereas you can visit Wai-o-tapu and Waimangu at your own pace. (Waimangu BTW was only created by the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886.)

    If you have time you should also go to the Buried Village, it is in the same area as Waimangu and Wai-o-tapu (which themselves are only a few kilometres apart). The Buried Village was buried by the Mt. Tarawera eruption. A sad history but very impressive.

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  • earthflyer's Profile Photo

    Re: Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    by earthflyer Online Now Mar 22, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Never had a guided tour on mount Tarawera, just a few of us hike up to the top and was a well trodden trail, but this was 10 years ago maybe things have change since then.

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Mar 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    That is it. Full control of Mt. Tarawera was given to Maori already several years ago, and they do not allow anybody there who does not pay for it.

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  • Re: Wai-o-Tapu or Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    by Travelholic123 Online Now Apr 14, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    I would also like to suggest Te Puia.

    Website: http://www.tepuia.com/

    The thermal valley including the world famous Pohutu geyser, mud pools and boiling water are amazing.

    There are over 500 pools and 65 geyser vents, and also the opportunity to see kiwi birds or experience a Maori Cultural Performance.

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