The Buried Village of Te Wairoa Blog

The Rotorua highlights tour you can't afford to miss

23 November 2015

The Full Day Adventure Tour takes you to the most spectacular parts of the Lakes District. With transport included, come along for the ride and find out what Rotorua is famous for - its magnificent historic and geothermic attractions.

Starting the day at a Thermal Wonderland and ending it among the Redwood Forest, this tour is an all-in-one real adventure.

If you’re planning a trip to Rotorua, consider taking the Full Day Adventure Tour and stop at each of the following attractions for a unique and wonderful experience.

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland

The first stop on the tour is the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. Waiotapu (sacred waters) has been thousands of years in the making. Explore the stunning volcanic features from tracks that intertwine throughout the thermal wonderland.

Activity is always guaranteed at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland as this is New Zealand’s most colourful and diverse volcanic area.

The shape of the landscape has been created by a series of volcanic activity and has been kept in its original state to show how these events have changed the area over time.  From here you will wander around some of our most spectacular volcanic creations like the boiling mud pools and geothermal ponds. You will also witness the Lady Knox Geyser erupting to a height of 10-20 metres.

geothermal activity in rotorua

The Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The next stop is Waimangu Volcanic Valley. As a consequence of Mt Tarawera’s eruption, the Valley is where you will learn more about this catastrophic event. This spectacular geothermal park blew open during that fateful night and the dramatic change in landscape remains completely unaltered to this day.

The Waimangu Volcanic Valley is home to the only native New Zealand forest that has been completely regenerated after total devastation. Along with geysers and hot springs, you will also see several silica terraces.

It’s up to you whether you want to stroll through the walkway at an easy pace or hike upwards to enjoy amazing panoramic views. Either way, the tracks are quiet, peaceful and alive with native birdlife and foliage.

Mt Tarawera Rotorua

Government Gardens

The perfect place to relax after a morning of exploring, the Rotorua Government Gardens offer both beauty and culture to central Rotorua.

This next stop is originally known as Paepaekumana and the land is of great historical importance.

After many significant battles throughout the 1800s, the Maori people gifted this 50-acre area to the crown. Once covered in scrub, the land was cleared and replaced with a formal garden.

The architecture onsite is a magnificent feature and exudes history. Utilising the geothermal activity in the area, the New Zealand government opened this Tudor-style building as a spa house in 1908. The original building has now been converted to a museum. By the 1930s a second building had opened called the ‘Blue Baths’ which have now been restored for public use.

You can choose to wander through the carefully manicured rose gardens, or take in the view from a seated area.

Government Gardens Rotorua

Sulphur Bay

Another perfect example of the extensive volcanic landscape in Rotorua, Sulphur Bay has everything visitors hope to see on their trip to the region.

Sulphur Bay gets its name from its milky sulphur-laden water and encompasses the essence of geothermal activity in Rotorua. With active boiling mud pools, steam vents and silica flats, this area is different again from the volcanic regions previously experienced on the tour.

Sulphur Bay Rotorua

Blue and Green Lakes

Now you’ve reached the part of the tour where you can take in the serenity of the Blue and Green Lakes.

Tikitapu, the Blue Lake, gets its name from its crisp blue colour – a result of rhyolite and pumice on the lake bed. This lake is a favourite attraction for many locals and tourists due to its clear water and picnic facilities.

The Green Lake is named Rotokakahi in Maori due to its abundance of fresh water mussels, or Kakahi. From above, the Green Lake is a strong emerald colour, known to be a result of its shallow and sandy lake bed.

Nestled among steep green hills, the lakes are separated by an easy walking track.

What to do in Rotorua

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

Next we will take you on a journey through time at the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.

On the night of 10 June 1886, Mt Tarawera erupted burying the Te Wairoa village under tons of hellish burning mud. Te Wairoa was once a thriving tourist destination due to its magnificent attraction, the Pink and White Terraces. But the village and the natural wonder were both destroyed by the eruption.

Currently one of New Zealand’s most visited historic sites, the Buried Village has undergone decades of excavation to uncover as much of the original Te Wairoa Village as possible. Each site is only partially excavated to show the depth of mud that covered the village on the fateful night.

As you wander through scenic pathways, you will see how the land has revegetated with pristine native bush since its destruction in 1886. Given the peaceful environment it’s hard to believe the area experienced such fury from Mt Tarawera.

Just ahead on your stroll, you will get the chance to explore the native flora and fauna above the Wairere Falls. From here you can look out over remote volcanic scenery and catch a glimpse of rainbow trout in the stream below. If you are feeling adventurous, take the steps down to the base of the 30-metre waterfall and delight in a light spray of fresh water on your face.

On site at the Buried Village, the Museum of Te Wairoa will take your learning a step further. Here you will be able to see relics and personal belongings uncovered in the excavations, and listen to stories from survivors of the eruption.

The Buried Village is an award-winning heritage attraction and one that lets you discover more about an event that dramatically changed a piece of Rotorua’s landscape forever.

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa

The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest

The tour ends with a relaxing walk through Whakarewarewa Forest. Take a light stroll under the diverse range of exotic trees including the towering Californian Coastal Redwoods. If you love the outdoors, this experience will tick all the boxes.

Known for its unique environment and network of mountain biking tracks the 5,600ha of forest is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

The incredible scenery and fresh air in the forest makes for the perfect end to a fantastic day.

incredible scenic walks in Rotorua

The best way to experience Rotorua

In the eight hours you spend on this tour, you will see the very best that Rotorua has to offer without the hassle of finding your own way. The diverse range of activities will keep your excitement levels high the whole day long.

With full transport, a picnic lunch and entry to all attractions, the Full Day Adventure Tour makes it easy for you to get the most out of your visit to New Zealand’s spectacular thermal district.

Book now and secure your spot on an upcoming Full Day Adventure Tour.


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