Activities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings

Rotorua offers some of New Zealand's most iconic natural wonders. Being only a 3 hour drive from Auckland you can discover lakes, forests, geothermal wonders and an abundance of attractions and activities. 

Waikite Valley Thermal Hotpools is situated 30 mins from Rotorua on the Thermal Highway heading to Taupo. As well as being located in a picturesque setting there is a number of outdoor activities surrounding Waikite that appeal to everyone.

One in particular is the 66km Te Ara Ahi cycle trail which stretches between Rotorua and Waikite Valley and links five significant geothermal parks Whakarewarewa, Te Puia, Waimangu, Wai-O-Tapu and Waikite Valley Thermal Springs – each with its own unique natural wonders.

This easy/intermediate grade 2-3 trail travels past Maori cultural sites, bubbling mud pools, hot springs and geothermal wonderlands. There are options for a short ride, day trip or a multi-day adventure with the ride ending in the Waikite Valley.  Having multiple access points and shuttles to pick you up means you can tailor the ride to suit all abilities, interests and travel itineraries.

Let’s take you on a journey through the Te Ara Ahi cycle trail and show you what other amazing activities are on offer along the way:

Starting in Rotorua the trail meanders past significant Maori historical and cultural sites such as Te Puia and Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village. Both places offer a guided tours and unique food options using traditional cooking methods*. The star of the show is the Pohutu Geyser which shoots up 10-20 metres into the air. 

Just past Whakarewarewa Village is the Redwoods Mountain Bike Park in the Whakarewarewa Forest which is famous for 180km of grade 1-5 world class mountain bike trails suited to all levels. The forest houses some significant 75m Redwood plantations where you can join the Redwoods Treewalk and travel high above the forest floor on a series of eco-suspended bridges and platforms. This can be enjoyed day or night and is regarded as one of the best tree top walks in New Zealand.

As you travel further south along the trail you get the opportunity to take a rest from the bike and hike up to the summit (743m) of Rainbow Mountain (Mt Kakaramea). At the top you get breath taking 360 degree views over the Rotorua area. If you don’t feel so intrepid climbing to the summit there is a short 1km walk to an aqua blue crater lake surrounded by steaming red rocks and New Zealand native bush which is well worth a visit.

Ever been to the world’s youngest geothermal system? Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created in Mt Tarawera's 1886 eruption and features spectacular volcanic craters, hot water springs, geothermal features, rare and unusual plant life, brilliantly coloured micro biology and a wide array of birdlife. Spend an hour or a whole day exploring these amazing formations and follow it up with a guided boat trip on Lake Rotomahana. 

Waikite Valley Thermal Valley has a great combo with Waimangu Volcanic Valley, so check that out if you're planning to stop at both on the way. 

Just down the road is  Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, which is famous for the Lady Knox Geyser and the Champagne Pools. Its known as one of New Zealands most colourful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attractions and was sculptured out of thousands of years of volcanic activity. Note: Wai-o-Tapu is currently closed for renovations, due to reopen late December 2020. You can still visit the Wai-o-Tapu mud pools on the Wai-o-Tapu loop road. This is a fantastic free attraction, one of the largest pools of bubbling mud in the world!

Only 6km past Wai-O-Tapu is Waikite Valley Thermal Hotpools where you can get Thermal Land Shuttle to pick you up, or after all that exercise soak in one of the many hotpools fed by 100% pure geothermal water. There is a large family area with a shallow area for the little ones and a selection of other pools at various temperatures. There is also a short scenic walk to the Te Manaroa spring to see the source of the thermal mineral water.

Accommodation

Wai-o-Tapu Tavern offers budget backpacker accommodation, a logical stopping point if you plan to ride the full 66km cycle trail over 3 days. There is also a camping area on the side of Lake Okaro which is just past Waimangu Volcanic Valley and at Waikite we also offer camping with free access to the thermal hot pools included.  If you want something a little more upmarket there is WaiNot Farmstay and Sandara Gardens which sit in the Waikite Valley.

More Information

The Te Ara Ahi - Thermal by Bike forms part of the Nga Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail, for information on the trails check out NZCycleTrail.
Mountain Bike Rotorua offers bike hire, shuttles, tours and advice, and has a handy base in the Redwoods Mountain Bike Park.
To explore all that Rotorua has to offer as there is so much to do, we recommend visiting RotoruaNZ.com  

*Important Note - Due to Covid-19, some businesses are operating reduced opening hours or limited experiences. Please check on their websites for the most up to date information. 

Activities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings
Waikite Valley Thermal PoolsActivities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings
Waikite Valley Thermal PoolsActivities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings
Waikite Valley Thermal PoolsActivities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings
Waikite Valley Thermal PoolsActivities Around Waikite Thermal Valley Hotsprings
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools