Rotorua is known for its thermal activity, so it was someplace I knew I wanted to visit when I went to New Zealand. I had seen many pictures of the multicolored pools of water, and I wanted see them with my own eyes. So after four days in Dunedin, we hopped on a plane (without going through any kind of airport security…strange) and flew back to warmer weather on the North Island.

Lady Knox Geyser

Our morning started out with a visit to Lady Knox geyser, which is said to erupt daily at approximately the same time. We were certainly skeptical since nature typically doesn’t follow such a strict schedule. Luckily when we arrived all was explained. Left alone, the geyser will erupt once every few days. But in order to regulate it so it’s easier for tourists to see the geyser erupt, they put soap in it. They didn’t say, but I have to assume it was environmentally friendly soap. So yes, it was a little cheesy to watch a geyser artificially prompted to erupt, but I’m sure it looks the same as if it had happened on its own.

Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland

After the eruption we went to the section of the park I was looking forward to most, the different colored pools. I know they’re caused by thermal activity and interaction with different minerals, but I still looked at them in amazement. There is such a variety of colors, consistencies, and sizes among the pools.

Warning signs are there for a reason

Aside from the amazing colors of the thermal pools, the other thing that amazed me were the people who ignored the warning signs. There were signs posted everywhere warning about the extremely hot temperatures of the pools and warning people not to touch the water. But apparently a sign that says 100 degrees Celsius (that’s boiling temperature for my Fahrenheit  readers) isn’t believable for some people. And so we saw several people step over the low wooden fences and stick their fingers in the hot water, just to make sure the signs weren’t lying.

Please don’t do this. You might actually get burned. Or, you know, end up on someone’s blog as an example of how to act like an idiot.

Despite being induced by soap, Lady Knox Geyser was pretty impressive to watch as it erupted. The colorful thermal pools of Wai-O-Tapu were like an artist’s giant paint palette, and can be explored through three different connected paths. These attractions are the main reason to come to Rotorua, and they are totally worth the trip.

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23 comments on “In the Heat in Rotorua

  1. lara dunston

    I’ve always wanted to go there since befriending a Rotorua local when I was a kid. Looks fascinating. The colour of that green pool is wild!

    1. Ali Post author

      That green one was my favorite! It’s just so amazing that things like this exist in nature. I hope you make it there one of these days!

  2. Jaime

    Yup that would be me trying to put a finger in there… jaja. Oh wow I had never heard of this place & it really does sound and look amazing.

    1. Ali Post author

      Yeah, you probably would do that! If you ever get to NZ, you should definitely check it out.

  3. Irina

    haha this is hilarious! “Or, you know, end up on someone’s blog as an example of how to act like an idiot.”
    I think I will start collecting examples of idiot behaviour when I travel. This could be a great project!

    1. Ali Post author

      Thanks Irina! I’ve got a few things like this from other places too. I just don’t understand why this guy thought it was a good idea to test out the 100 degree water!

  4. Andrea

    We loved Rotorua – couldn’t believe all the beautiful colours coming out of the ground!

    1. Ali Post author

      Even after seeing pictures I still didn’t expect it to really look this cool!

  5. Andrew

    That was a fun day, even if we didn’t have quite enough time to see the whole thing. I liked the pools too, but could have done without the smell in areas.

    As for dumb people in that park, how about the group with the baby carriage walking the wrong way down the one way paths.

    1. Ali Post author

      Yeah, a little more time might’ve been nice. And the whole place did smell pretty bad. I forgot about the people with the baby carriage going the wrong way.

  6. Laurence

    That guy is totally insane. That’s like sticking your hand in a boiling pan of water! People are not terribly bright sometimes. Ah well. I lived in Rotorua for a couple of months and loved Wai-o-Tapu, it was one of my favourite places to visit when I was in the area :D

    1. Ali Post author

      I know, crazy! How did you live in Rotorua for a few months? We enjoyed Wai-o-Tapu and a few other things, but the town itself seemed pretty boring. It must’ve taken awhile to get used to that smell!

  7. Amanda

    So glad to hear you made it to Wai-O-Tapu. Isn’t it amazing?? Crazy to think what nature can create.

    1. Ali Post author

      I hate when I miss responding to someone, sorry! Yes, it was definitely amazing! I certainly saw many examples of why you love New Zealand so much during my 3 weeks there.

  8. Erik

    I have a confession….

    Rotorua is the one place in NZ I didn’t really like. It was too touristy and too crowded for my tastes.

    1. Ali Post author

      I really enjoyed seeing the thermal pools and the kiwi place, but as a town I didn’t like Rotorua either.

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  10. Kurt

    If there was all this thermal activity here there should have been some hot springs for bathing in nearby. Nothing like a dip in the some natural hot springs.

    1. Ali Post author

      We did go to a thermal bath/spa place, though it was a bit crowded and the pools were almost all really shallow. It had a great view though!

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