The steam rises in the distance and mixes with the clouds that are slowly dripping rain on to the rocks below. Already I can see a glimpse of the colourful landscape from across the river. I board the boat and it feels like I’m on a voyage to a magical land. I find myself in a place ready to be explored, filled with mud pools, geysers and native bush. Welcome to Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave.
Visiting Orakei Korako Geothermal Park
Orakei Korako Geothermal Park & Cave is located 30 minutes from Taupō and is one of the most spectacular geothermal attractions in the area. The park is home to the largest silica terrace in New Zealand, 23 active geysers and a 36m thermal cave.
Your journey starts by heading across the river. The price of admission includes the ferry which runs on demand. Starting at 8:30am, with the last trip happening at 4pm. The walk takes between 1-2 hours, depending on your pace. This includes plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery.
The walk is easy enough for the whole family. Dogs are welcome too, as long as they’re on a leash, well behaved and you clean up after them. I visited with my dog Meko and he seemed to love exploring all the new sights and smells.
All of the hot pools reach boiling temperature so make sure you keep your distance and stay on the boardwalk path.
Getting there and what to bring
Orakei Korako is 30 minutes North of Taupō and 45 minutes South of Rotorua. Driving is the best way to get there, with plenty of parking on site.
The boardwalk can get sipplery so make sure you have decent walking shoes. A bottle of water is also a good idea, especially in summer as the park can get very warm.
There is a cafe on site but is currently only open weekends. If you think you’ll get hungry make sure to pack some snacks.
History of Orakei Korako
Orakei Korako has a rich history and has been an important settlement site of Ngati Tahu for generations. The geothermal resources have important cultural significance and were used for cooking, drinking, bathing, healing. I recommended visiting the Orakei Korako website to learn more.
Would I visit again?
Absolutely, Orakei Korako feels like one of those places that’s different every day. The day I visited it was misty and raining. The weather definitely added to the experience. I can imagine it would change completely on a bright summer’s day.
The natural wonders are spectacular and you should definitely include this place on your Taupō itinerary.