1886 Eruption & Birth of Waimangu Volcanic Valley

A brief look at Waimangu's short and explosive history.

Approx 1600 - Maori settle close to Lake Rotomahana.

1820s - European settlers arrive in NZ. Explorers, surveyors and settlers arrive in the Rotorua area. They are amazed by the geothermal features and tourism begins. The most important geothermal features are the wonderful Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana.

1840s - Christian Mission Stations are set up near and in Rotorua. These provide comfortable and safe overnight stops for visitors journeying to visit the Pink and White Terraces.

1840s to 1886 - Tourism to the Pink and White Terraces booms.

10 June 1886Mt Tarawera and Lake Rotomahana erupt.

- Mt Tarawera is broken into 2 pieces.
- The Pink and White Terraces are destroyed.
- All life within 6 km of Rotomahana is extinguished, including 120 people living near the mountain and lake.
- Lake Rotomahana is excavated to be 20x larger and 170 metres deeper.
- 7 craters erupt south of Lake Rotomahana. These are named “Okaro Craters”.
- Hot springs appear in the eruption craters.

05.30am, 10 June 1886 - The beginning of the new eco system.

1886 to 1900 - Lake Rotomahana refills with water to its current size.

1900 - The world’s largest geyser begins to erupt. The discharge is black. The Geyser is named “Waimangu” meaning black water. The name of the area changes from Okaro Craters to Waimangu.

1904 - Waimangu Geyser ceases eruptions.

Approx 1915 - Plants return to Waimangu. Bird life also returns.

1917 - Frying Pan Lake forms.

1973 - Trinity Terrace erupts.

1981 - Raupo Pond erupts.

2016 - Raupo Pond erupts.









Self-guided walk or hike, boat cruise or combo


A truly unique part of the world

Waimangu World Significance