Orakei-Korako geyserland is home to the greatest number of active geysers of any geothermal field in New Zealand. The silica terraces which form the base of Orakei-Korako (meaning ‘Place of Adorning’) are noted as being the largest since the destruction of the pink and white terraces on the edge of Lake Rotomahana beneath Mt Tarawera in 1886.
The area, situated on the bank of the Waikato River 20 minutes south of Taupo, is a scenic geothermal wonderland. Visitors can access the area by boat and follow the walkway to see 23 active geysers, vast numbers of boiling hot springs, mud pools and native flora and fauna. A highlight for many is the thermal Ruatapu Cave (sacred hole) extending some 120 feet down to a hot pool at the bottom aptly named ‘Waiwhakaata’, meaning pool of mirrors. Its origin is still uncertain, but some theories suggest a giant hydrothermal eruption.
In earlier times the Waikato valley near Orakei-Korako was occupied by Maori of the Ngati Tahu subtribe of Tuwharetoa. The hot springs at Orakei-Korako were used by Maori women to cook, sparing them trouble of procuring wood for fuel, and to bathe and beautify themselves for ceremonies. It is suggested that after the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, Ngati Tahu vacated Orakei-Korako to settle nearby at Waimahan and Ohaki. By the turn of the century all but two families had moved from Orakei Korako.
In the early 1900s the geothermal area was established as a visitor attraction when Europeans passed through the valley on-route between Rotoura and Taupo.
Contact Craig Gibson
Phone + 64 7 378 3131