Weather :

Timings : 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM (Winter timings)
8:30 AM - 10:00 pm (Summer timings)

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : NZD 35

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Hell, Rotorua Overview

Hell's Gate, despite its forbidding name, is one of Rotorua's most famous thermal attractions. The fuming and steaming geysers of Hell's Gates are spread over 50 acres of land. The therapeutic properties of the hot pools' mud and their renowned sulphur spa treatments are major tourist attractions for people around the country. Hell's Gate is important in Maori history and is also the site for many Maori legends.

Hell's Gate contains New Zealand's most active geothermal field. It has erupting waters, steaming and fuming fumaroles, mud pools, mud volcanoes, and the Kakahi waterfalls, the largest hot waterfall in the Southern hemisphere. The natural hot springs, the sulphur rocks, mud pools, the hot waterfall, and freaky landscape drops are all reminiscent of an alien landscape.

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Features of Hell's Gate

The 50-acre geothermal area Hell's Gate can be explored via two flat loop walks. It takes 45 to 60 minutes in total.

  • The lower area- the loop walk encircling this area is provided with bridges and platforms. There are about a dozen hot pools here with a depth ranging from 15 to 25 metres. Sodom and Gomorrah, Devil's bath, and Inferno pool are the main attractions here. The temperature of water in Inferno pool and Sodom and Gomorrah goes up to more than 100°C. This is due to the minerals in the water raising its boiling point. The temperature in most of the other pools ranges from 60° to 70° C.
  • The upper and lower area is separated by a walk along the stream which flows over the Kakahi Falls. The Kakahi Falls is 4 metres tall. This is the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere and the temperature of the water of this fall is around 40°C.

  • The upper area is encircled with a larger loop walk. It contains larger hot pools, steaming fumaroles, sulphur crystal valley can also be seen in this area. There are several mud cauldrons having boiling black mud. A mud volcano 2 meters tall, also is seen here. This mud volcano erupts after every 6 weeks due to the hardening of the top and the building pressure inside seeking release. Waters from these pools are used for medicinal purposes such as treating skin diseases and arthritis.

Things to Do

Guided tour

A guided tour of the geothermal reserve can be opted for. One gets an interactive geothermal exploration of the park, being told about the properties of water and mud here, the myths and legends of the place and given all other explanations too. The eruptive waters, the Kakahi Falls, mud volcano, land corals, sulphur crystals, the mud baths and sulphur spas- all can be seen The walk takes about 1 hr.

Mud bath

The mud spa at Hell's Gate is one of its kind experiences. The healing and therapeutic properties of the thermal mud is fabulous. Hell's Gate mud spa is near the entrance and it offers mud foot pools and several mud baths. It also offers a list of mud packages therapies and massages. The grey mud from one of the pools is used in the mud spa. The skin is opened up and cleaned when lathered in this extraordinary mud.

If not a mud bath, one should at least enjoy mud foot pools. Bathing feet in the original squishy mud pool will leave you relaxed and refreshed. Private mud baths can also be opted for but at a higher cost. Children should take mud baths only under adult supervision.

Sulphur spa

Water from ' Huritini Hot Spring' is used in the sulphur spas of Hell's Gate. Immersing oneself in the famous sulphur spa after a mud bath helps to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. It should be followed by a plunge in the cool pool. People suffering from arthritis or rheumatism are said to benefit largely from these mud baths and sulphur spas. Semi-private sulphur spas are also offered but the cost is higher than the general ones.

Other attractions

Hell's Gate offers full body massage called 'Wai Ora' which is of 1/2 to 1 hr duration. Also available are skin therapies, facials and scrubs. These are not luxury spa but gives a genuine experience with freshly dug out mud from the pools.

How To Reach Hell's Gate

Hell's Gate or Tikitere is a suburb in Rotorua. It lies on SH 30, between Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti in the Bay of Plenty region, New Zealand. Hell's Gate is about 18 kilometres North East of Rotorua.

  • It takes about 7 minutes to reach from the airport.
  • Hell's Gate is a 15 to 20 mins total drive from the centre of Rotorua on Te Ngae Road and then the SH 30.
  • Free shuttle buses ply 3 times daily- 8.50 a.m, 12.50 p.m, and 4.50 p.m from Rotorua to Hell's Gate and 12.30 p.m, 4.30 p.m and 7.30 p.m return.
  • A small car park is available right outside the Hell's Gate.

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