Weather :

Timings : 8 AM - 4 PM
(Closes at 4:30 PM during Daylight Savings Time)

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : NZD 39 - Adult
NZD 15 - Child

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Orakei Korako, Rotorua Overview

Mysteriously known as “The Hidden Valley”, Orakei Korako is a highly active geothermal region located in the famous Taupo Volcanic Zone of the northern island of New Zealand. With a name that translates to ‘The Place of Adorning’ in the native language Maori, Orakei Korako is undoubtedly one of the best attractions for tourists and travellers in the Rotorua area as well as in the entire country.

Hot springs, geysers, bubbling and boiling mud pools, and the unique silica terraces anywhere in the world abound in the entire region. Despite two of the world’s largest geysers drowned when Lake Ohakuri was filled up in 1961, Orakei Korako still boasts up to 23 active geyser sites - more than any other geothermal park in New Zealand.

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Entry Timings and Fees

  • The geothermal region and the Ruatapu Cave is open for the public from 8 AM, when the first boat ride starts and it is open till 4 PM during the winter and 4:30 PM during Daylight Saving time.
  • On an average, it takes one to two hours to take a look around the entire place. 
  • Entry to the geothermal region of Orakei Korako costs NZD 39 for adults and NZD 15 for children of age 16 and under.
  • Kids under the age of 6 are granted free entry.
  • There is a package entry available for families including two adults and two children at NZD 98 together. 
  • This entry fee includes the ferry ride one has to take across the Ohakuri Lake from the Visitor Centre to reach the geysers and hot springs of Orakei Korako. 

What to Do at Orakei Korako

Set far away from the usual throngs of people, The Hidden Valley asks for an acquired taste in its visitors to truly appreciate its beauty. The nature hides within itself more wonders than humans can ever imagine, and Orakei Korako is one such marvels in the heart of Taupo Volcanic Zone. If you are visiting the place, make sure to see the following attractions which are the highlights of ‘The Place of Adorning’.

Magnificent Silica Terraces

  • One of the leading features of Orakei Korako are its silica terraces. The lowest of them is the jade-green Emerald Terrace, over which 20 million litres of silica-enriched water everyday flows into the manmade Lake Ohakuri, which is an attraction in itself.
  • Above Emerald Terraces, there are three more terraces covered in black, yellow and green hot water algae, named Rainbow, Cascade and Golden Fleece Terrace. These three were formed due to an earthquake in 131 AD caused by a supervolcano under Lake Taupo. 
  • The first two have several small geysers at their bases, including the intermittently active Sapphire Geyser and the Hochstetter Pool, named after an Austrian geologist visiting the area in 1859, Ferdinand von Hochstetter.
  • The third and the tallest one at 5 metres high, also called Te Kapua in Maori language meaning “The Cloud” is covered in sparkling white sinter coating, which is the origin of its Maori moniker.
  • Numerous geysers have formed at its base over the centuries, with Wairiri Geyser being the latest one. 
  • Above this lies the topmost terrace of Orakei Korako, called the Artist’s Palette. It is dotted with clear blue aklaki chloride pools and experiences irregular eruption of geysers since 2001. 

    Ruatapu Caves
    Ruatapo Cave
  • New Zealand’s only and the world’s one of the two geothermal caves, Ruatapu is 45 metres in depth, with a drop of around 35 metres to a shallow pool at the floor. This pool at the bottom boasts of crystal clear but sulfate-enriched acid water, which is why accessing it is strictly prohibited.
  • However, there is a viewing platform provided at a vantage point to take a good look around the cave and down at the hot pool, which in Maori is termed Waiwhakaata or Pool of Mirrors, due to its transparency and reflective properties. 
  • There are many other features scattered abundantly across the Orakei Korako region, like the Soda Fountain which erupted to life in 1984 after almost two decades of dormancy.
  • Also, located high along the cliff above Lake Ohakuri are three more geysers called Kurapai, Ellan Vannin and Benedix Washer, but they are not open for the public to visit due to high temperatures. 

How To Reach Orakei Korako

Orakei Korako can be reached from either Rotorua which is 45 minutes away or from Taupo, which is 45 minutes away. Hiring a shuttle or renting a car are the best options you have to get to the place.

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