Created by the 1866 eruption, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley—a scenic reserve and geothermal hot spot that covers much of the area around nearby Lake Rotomahana—is a popular day-trip destination. Reach the privately owned peak by guided hike, mountain bike, four-wheel drive, or helicopter; alternatively, walk to nearby Tarawera Falls, mountain bike around Lake Okataina, or cruise across Lake Rotomahana. To stay on Lake Tarawera overnight, look for the surrounding campsites which dot the area.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Mt. Tarawera is ideal for nature and outdoor enthusiasts.
Tarawera’s peak is privately owned and has been off-limits to independent hikers, cyclists, and general visitors since early 2010.
The entrance fee for Lake Rotomahana and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley supports this extremely rare and protected ecosystem.
Obtain a required access permit for Tarawera Falls or Tarawera Outlet at Maori Investments Limited in Kawerau, or on weekends at the Kawerau i-Site Visitor Centre.
Because much of the Tarawera area is rugged forest, make sure to wear sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing.
How to Get There
Mt. Tarawera is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Rotorua. Because it is private property, Tarawera is closed to independent visitors; the best and only way to get there is to book a guided tour.
When to Get There
Tarawera’s peak is exposed, so the best time to visit is likely in early or late summer, when the sun is out but not too unforgiving. This is also a good time to visit the rest of the area, as the nature walks and beaches tend to be less crowded and more temperate.
Swimming in Lake Tarawera
Lake Tarawera sits at the foot of the mountain, but don’t make the assumption that it’s also privately owned and off-limits. In fact, the lake has several beaches and bays that are great for swimming and boating. Its best-kept secret, though, is accessible only by ferry or by walking the Tarawera Trail to Hot Water Beach, where thermal activity heats the water and sand.
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