Our people have been hosting visitors to the Tarawera area for hundreds of years, since the first tourists travelled to visit the Pink and White Terraces, thought to be the 8th Wonder of the World. Tarawera is steeped in history and cultural significance. The eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886 devastated the area, killing more than 150 people, burying the villages and destroying all plant life. Today, the area is known not only for this history, but also for the incredible natural environment created by the eruption. Discover lakeside hiking trails through regenerating native bush, hike to the 65-metre high Tarawera Falls, and relax in natural lakeside hot pools. Come and experience the stunning landscapes of Tarawera and uncover the stories of this special place in our history.
Mount Tarawera eruption and the birth of Waimangu
Before the most recent eruption of Mount Tarawera, the area now known as Waimangu Volcanic Valley was rolling scrub-covered hills with no surface hydrothermal activity.
During the night of 10 June 1886, a line of craters from the northern end of Tarawera was formed by a violent eruption, creating the world's youngest geothermal system.
Everything we see at Waimangu is either a direct result of the 1886 eruption or, if it is alive, has arrived here since the Eruption.
Pink and White Terraces
Once a dominant feature on the shores of Lake Rotomahana, the Pink and White Terraces were considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World.
Visiting the terraces became New Zealand’s first tourist activity, and a tourist hub was created at the village of Te Wairoa.
Māori guides from the local tribes paved the way for the future of tourism in New Zealand, a tradition continued to this day with many of their descendants still guiding visitors in the Rotorua region.
The Round Trip
The original Round Trip tour dates back to 1903. It marked the return of international tourism to the Tarawera area, previously devastated by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886.
Now you can follow in the footsteps of New Zealand's first tourists, and uncover the stories of the Pink and White Terraces and the Tarawera eruption.
This full day tour includes return transport from Rotorua, guided walk at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, boat cruises of Lakes Rotomahana and Tarawera and the Buried Village.
Tarawera Walking and Hiking Trails
If you're looking for walking trails in Rotorua, the Tarawera region has walking and hiking options for all levels of fitness.
Discover walking trails through geothermal valleys, walks around Lake Tarawera, and even hikes on the summit of Mount Tarawera itself.
Hidden gems include stunning waterfalls and lakeside natural hot pools.
Mount Tarawera Tours and Experiences
Today, there are a number of ways you can experience Mount Tarawera and learn about it’s explosive history.
The top activities include flying above and landing on the summit, boat cruises on lakes Rotomahana & Tarawera, running down volcanic scree slopes to the crater, and eco-walks in the surrounding area.
As you can see, a trip to Mount Tarawera has to be on your Must-Do list for Rotorua.