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Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Langley City, Canada
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809 posts
68 reviews
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Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

I know this topic has been discussed at length but the more I read, the more confusing it seems to get to make a decision!

We are planning to see two spots on two different days, and it sounds like Wai-O-Tapu by most standards is the one not to miss if we had to only choose one.

They seem to be pretty amazing areas and if there isn't a lot of difference in the scenery to see between these three we may just stick with Wai-O-Tapu (we'll be spending one night in Taupo and also a night or two in Rotorua depending on this).

We're not normally big hikers and I think this would be the first time we've paid just to walk around somewhere (not that it's not worth the entry fee I'm sure - just isn't something we normally do on vacation), but since we're travelling all the way from Canada and have been waiting so long to see New Zealand, I just don't want to miss out on something unique.

So - if Wai-O-Tapu should be enough, some tips would be appreciated, or if Waimangu and Orakei Korako have some unique features (I think we'll be covered in terms of geysers/mud pools, so mainly after some beautiful scenery if we take on a second visit), some advice on which of the two to choose would be much appreciated!

Thanks!

Batemans Bay...
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150 posts
66 reviews
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1. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

We did both Waimangu and Wai-o-Tapu in January this year and thought they were both fabulous and unique enough in their own right. Both were worthwhile seeing and glad we did not miss either. There is a bit of walking involved, which we enjoy. However at Waimangu there is a bus you can catch between stops to sve you the walk, particularly on the return which is uphill. We did not go to Orakei Korako thought, so can't comment on how it compares.

Rockhampton
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68 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

In response to your question regarding thermal parks at Rotorua this is a hard decision to make based on others opinions as it depends on your personal preferences. We visited NZ in December and visited Wai O Tapu and while recommended by many we would not rate this as one of our top experiences, however for others it would be. You do not know this until you go however and will always wonder what it would be like if you don't go. Upon arrival at Rotorua I recommend that you visit Kuirau Park, this is a small sample of what you'll see at Wai O Tapu. I would however strongly recommend visiting Waitomo Caves which is not too far from Rotorua. We went on the Black Water Rafting Trip which was a fantastic experience and is on our list of the best things we did in NZ.

Feilding, New...
Destination Expert
for Rotorua
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1,593 posts
39 reviews
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3. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

What one person rates highly another may not find at all exciting....so true. Knowing little about those asking for advice makes it even harder to be definitive about choice.

Waiotapu with geyser and park is rated highly as an experience. The nearby large area of mudpools is also worth viewing. The geyser erupts at 10.15a.m. so timing is imprtant here.

Waimungu is different as it does not have the scenery of the Artist's Pallette and Lady Knox geyser but you can take a boat trip at the end of the 3.5km walk. Scientists discovered, In February 2011, the Pink terraces ( once considered the eighth wonder of the world) believed destroyed in the 1886 Tarawera eruption, still exist deep under the waters of Lake Rotomahana.

Orakei Korako is different again.You can take the Riverjet boat along the Waikato River rather than driving to O.K. The paths here have some deep steps and the walk is rather harder on the legs than Waiotapu or Waimungu.

There are also Te Puia (closest to Rotorua) and Hell's Gate (Tikitere) thermal areas to consider.

Kuirau Park as mentioned is free.

Researching each area on the internet will make it easier for you to choose what will best fit your needs..

Langley City, Canada
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809 posts
68 reviews
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4. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Thanks everyone - yes I'm sure it comes down to personal preference. I'll try to find more pictures from each site to see if that helps. I think we may leave it down to timing.

We're going to be starting in Raglan, spending the day there, and then heading to Waitomo Caves the following morning and back for another afternoon in Raglan.

Then we are heading to the Taupo/Rotorua area. Googlemaps says that it takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to get to either Taupo or Orakei Korako so if we get away early enough (bungy jumping in Taupo that afternoon), then we'll probably stop at Orakei Korako and make it on the way to Taupo where our first night in the area is booked.

The following day, onto Rotorua, so we'll stop at Wai-O-Tapu and if we didn't have enough time to work in Orakei Korako on the way down, then we'll swing by Waimangu on the way to Rotoura... this way I don't have to completely make the decision myself and can leave it up to our timing when the time comes!

Thanks again for the replies!

Janine

Rotorua, New Zealand
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15 posts
26 reviews
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5. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Kia ora, I live in Rotorua, and would recommend Waiotapu everytime. You get to see some wicked colours in the pools, geysers, mud pools, and you can see some silica terraces which will give you an idea of what the Pink and White Terraces used to look like. Kuirau Park is free and not far from the centre of town, you'll see bubbling mud pools there and you can also soak weary feet in the foot pools. Te Puia is mega touristy and always crowded but Pohutu Geyser is pretty awesome. Stop off (if you have time) at the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools (not far from Waiotapu and Waimangu) to experience hot thermal pools in a scenic area. Have fun!

Langley City, Canada
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809 posts
68 reviews
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6. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Thanks for the reply! I think we're set on Waiotapu as well. I hadn't heard of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools - is there a fee to go there? We were also planning on stopping at Kerosene Creek after Waiotapu.

Thanks again!

Langley City, Canada
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809 posts
68 reviews
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7. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Found it, very reasonably priced - we're definitely going to check them out!

Napier, New Zealand
4 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

Waikite Pools are fabulous on a chilly evening.

Two thumbs up!

9. Re: Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu or Orakei Korako?

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