Rotorua advertises many “thermal parks” all around, which charge for entry. There is the Hell’s Valley, and Wai-o-Tapu which we headed for and wanted to see since Lonely Planet said it’s one of the better ones. However, after getting to the Wai-o-Tapu region we slowly began changing our minds away from paying the 20$ entry fee. It turned out that the area has so many free thermal sights, that we thought the unique Champagne pool was not worth it. Instead, we drove around and seen some cool sights on our own. These included:
- Lady Knox Geyser - I think we entered for free since we came late, after it first erupts at 10:15am)
- Kerosene Creek - a hot thermal creek (north of Wai-o-Tapu, turn into Kerosene Creek Road off highway 5, 2km into)
- Mud pools - on the side road into Wai-o-Tapu
- Rainbow Mountain – a one hour hike up a 500m mountain with some blue lakes on the way, and a super view of the area.