For Labour Weekend I jumped in the car and took myself for a solo trip to Lake Taupo. It was so nice to be solo travelling again! I knew I wanted the weekend to be relaxing, so Lake Taupo with it’s many hot pools and geothermal wonders was the ideal destination.
In fact, that’s how I came across Wairakei Terraces. I was talking to a friend about which hot pools to visit and she mentioned this place. At only $40 for a tour of the incredible terraces, with entry into their hot pools for as long as you like, I knew I had to go.
The terraces were like nothing I’d ever seen before, the area felt prehistoric. The manmade silica terraces are fed by a geyser. The bright turquoise pools overflow down the terraces, leaving mineral enriched silica deposits behind that form almost coral reef-like structures. There’s a 40 minute self-guided walk that takes you around the terraces which then feed the hot pools below.
Honestly, the more time I spend exploring New Zealand the more convinced I become that I’m living in Jurassic Park.
While the smell isn’t as overwhelming as Rotarua (I’ve been told), you can still smell the sulphur in the air. The steam coming from the pools is very hot and you can hear the geyser hissing and going off in the distance.
The walk feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Coming from the UK, it’s amazing to experience the geothermal wonders of New Zealand – something that’s so alien to home.
Behind this big steam cloud is a regularly erupting geyser.
They’re building a Māori village on the site too, so I took a quick wander through that. I’m intrigued to see what they do with this and how they respectfully honour the importance of this site to the Māori people.
Once the walk was done it was time for a dip! There are three pools each a different temperature, which you can see below. I took a dip in all three pools. I couldn’t manage very long in the hottest one, while the coolest felt almost too cool after experiencing the other two. So I spent most of my time in the largest pool, which was 38/39 degrees when I was there.
It’s fed by a waterfall that comes directly from the geyser pool. Those who could handle the heat could sit directly under the stream. The pools have little bench seats around the edges, and they’re shallow enough to walk through without submerging your shoulders. I enjoyed just sitting on the edge, listening to the native birds and enjoying the silky soft warm waters. The various minerals and nutrients in the water are so good for your skin, the advice is not to shower it off straight away.
The landscaping is very pretty and even on a hot day it was a thoroughly relaxing experience. Although I do want to come back in the winter to really get the benefit.
One word of warning… the water is very cloudy so the steps to get into the pools totally disappear. My advice, get in and out slowly and carefully.
There are no shortage of natural hot pools in New Zealand but if you’re in the Taupo area I highly recommend adding a visit to Wairakei Terraces to your list!
Love, Sarah x