Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Lonely Planet review

This interesting thermal area was created during the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, making it young in geological terms. Waimangu (Black Water) refers to the dark, muddy colour of much of the water here.

Taking the easy downhill stroll through the valley you’ll pass many spectacular thermal and volcanic features, including Inferno Crater Lake , where overflowing water can reach 80°C, and Frying Pan Lake , the largest hot spring in the world. The walk continues down to Lake Rotomahana (meaning ‘Warm Lake’), from where you can either get a lift back up to where you started or take a 45-minute boat trip on the lake, past steaming cliffs and the former site of the Pink and White Terraces.

Waimangu is 20 minutes south of Rotorua, 14km along SH5 (towards Taupo) and then 6km from the marked turn-off.