Frequently Asked Questions

Get something on your mind? Check out our frequently asked questions and see if it's covered.

When is it open?

Waimangu is open daily 8.30am to 5pm (6pm in January)

Last admission times:

  • Highlights walk                                        3.30pm (4.30pm in January)
  • Lake Rotomahana cruise only                3pm (4pm in January) Cruise Timetable
  • Walk/hike & cruise combo                      2pm (3pm in January)  
Do I need to book?

You do not need to book for the walk/hike, although you may want to save time on arrival by booking online.

There are scheduled departure times and spaces are limited on the Lake Rotomahana boat cruise. We recommend that you book this in advance.

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What should I wear and bring?

Flat walking shoes, camera, comfortable clothing, rain or sun protection as necessary, baby pushchair (with sturdy wheels) if needed. Take water with you.

For hiking, good walking shoes with treaded soles are necessary.

How long does it take?

You can explore Waimangu at your own pace on a self-guided tour. We suggest allowing 1 hour for the highlights walk, 1 hour 45 minutes for the full walk to the lake, and 3 hours 30 minutes for the walking tour and boat cruise combo. For just the boat cruise, allow 2 hours.

How fit do I need to be?

You can choose a trail to suit your fitness level. The walking trails are mostly downhill and suitable for all levels of fitness. The hiking trail requires reasonable fitness as it is quite steep.

When is the best time to come?

The valley is beautiful at any time of the day. Most visitors come to Waimangu mid to late morning, so the valley is quieter first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon.

When does the boat cruise run?

The Lake Rotomahana boat cruise operates daily at 10.25am, 11.25am, 1.10pm, 2pm, 2.50pm and 3.40pm.

For the cruise only option, please check in at least 45 minutes prior to the departure time. 

Do you have guided tours?

Yes, guided tours can be arranged including transport to and from Rotorua. Guided tours must be pre-booked in advance. Contact us

How do I get there?

Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a 25 minute drive from Rotorua, or 50 minutes from Taupo. Turn off State Highway 5 at Waimangu Road and follow the road for 6km. How to get here

If you do not have your own transport, there are local shuttle buses available through the following providers:

·        Thermal Land Shuttle

·        Head First

Alternatively, you can book a guided tour including transport. Some

·        Elite Adventures

·        Nature Connections

For the walk/hike & boat cruise combo, please allow at least 1 hour 45 minutes to walk through the valley to the boat jetty at the lake.

How cold is it in Winter?

The geothermal features are spectacular in Winter. As long as you’re dressed appropriately you’ll have a great time. Be prepared to be outside for a couple of hours and wrap up warm, bring a thermos, or there are hot drinks available to purchase from the café. Why not check out one of the nearby geothermal hot pools to warm up and relax after your visit.

What is it like in Summer?

It can get hot in Summer. Please make sure you wear sun protection and bring along extra sun cream & insect repellent. You will be most comfortable in good walking shoes rather than sandals.

What about when it’s raining?

Waimangu Volcanic Valley is stunning in the rain! The rain and cloud adds to the atmosphere of the geothermal features, often creating more steam! If you are wearing a good rain jacket, or have an umbrella, you will have a great time.

I don’t speak English!

No problem! You don’t need to speak English to enjoy Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The signs along the walking path are in English, but we have visitor guide sheets for the walk/hike and Lake Rotomahana boat cruise printed in the following languages: 

Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Hebrew, Russian, Slav, Hindi, Portuguese, Chinese

We also have Basic Fact Sheets printed in the following languages:

Czech, Swedish, Hungarian

Do you have Chinese speaking guides?

We do not have Chinese speaking staff but we do have visitor guide sheets printed in Mandarin.

 

 
Is Waimangu wheelchair accessible?

Waimangu staff will meet you on arrival to assist you with arrangements. Please allow a little extra time for this.

We will help you access the safe, flat areas of the walking track where you will see many of the geothermal features. Please note: The Inferno Crater and the Mt Haszard Hiking trail are not suitable for wheelchairs.

Wheelchairs must be lightweight and able to fold up to access the shuttle buses and the Lake Rotomahana boat. For safety reasons, we cannot provide access to motorised wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

Our shuttle buses do not have wheelchair lifts. You must be able to transfer from your wheelchair up steps onto the shuttle bus.

To board the boat, you must be able to climb up several steps and step across an open space, above the water, between the boat and the jetty.

Wheelchair users must always be accompanied by at least one experienced wheelchair handler during the visit.

Please feel free to contact us for further information or specific details.

Is Waimangu suitable for children?

Yes, Waimangu is a great option for families. The walking trails are mostly downhill and you can take a shuttle bus back to the visitor centre from any of the bus stops. There is lots to learn and keep the children entertained and plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy a picnic.

Is there food and drink available?

There is a selection of hot and cold food and drink available to purchase and enjoy in the Café. The café is a licensed premise. Any alcohol purchased from us must be consumed at the cafe within the licensed premise. We do not allow BYO alcohol.

Can I bring my own food & drink?

You are welcome to bring your own food and drinks (except alcohol) to enjoy at one of our picnic areas in the valley. Please do not bring your food into the café area.

Are there plenty of toilets?

There are toilets in the main visitor centre at the top of the valley. There are also toilets by Bus stop 2, 1.5km from the visitor centre, midway through the valley.  Please note there is no toilet on the boat or at the lakefront.

Are there lockers available? Yes
Is it educational?

Yes! You will learn about the geothermal features, and the unique botany and wildlife in the valley. There are lots of stories and you’ll learn about the history of the Tarawera eruption and the Pink & White Terraces.

There are a number of signs around the park. We also provide map guides for the walking and hiking and the boat Cruise.

How is Waimangu different to other geothermal attractions?

Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest geothermal system. Waimangu was created by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, whereas other geothermal attractions in the area have been around for thousands of years. The features in the valley are constantly changing.  It is the only example of a native NZ eco-system that has regenerated following destruction from a volcanic event. Waimangu is also quieter than other attractions.

We recommend visiting more than one geothermal attraction to see and compare a wider range of geothermal features.

Will I see the Pink & White Terraces?

Unfortunately, no. The Pink & White terraces were destroyed or buried in the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886. The boat cruise takes you to the original sites of the terraces on the new, much larger Lake Rotomahana.

Can I take photos?

Of course! There are so many fantastic opportunities to take photos and we’d love to see them! Feel free to share them on social media and #Waimangu

I want to do something special for a special occasion

Fantastic! Contact us to discuss options for your visit. We can arrange a gourmet picnic at one of the picnic areas, or charter a cruise on Lake Rotomahana just for your group.

Is it safe?

Yes, providing you follow the safety instructions.

You are responsible for your personal safety while visiting Waimangu. Please read the safety instructions on the guide sheets and obey signage and the instructions of Waimangu staff. Children must always be supervised.

Please help us to protect this unique environment. Take only photos and leave only footprints.