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Rotorua full-day tour, Wai O Tapu, Waimangu, Buried Village, Whakarewarewa

Rotorua, New Zealand

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon8 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Tour Wai-O-Tapu with a naturalist guide and discover the bubbling mud pools and hot springs of Rotorua’s most popular geothermal park. This full-day tour with a small group delivers you to the shores of several volcanic lakes and includes a bush walk to a waterfall and the Lake Tarawera lookout. Learn about Maori history, volcanology and New Zealand’s native flora and fauna along the way. Numbers are limited to a maximum 12 people to ensure an intimate experience.
  • Day trip to Rotorua's geysers, mud pools, volcanoes and lakes
  • Boiling mud pools and hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu
  • Eruption of Lady Knox Geyser
  • Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake)
  • All attractions fully guided and commentated by local naturalist guide
  • Pickup and drop-off from centrally located Rotorua hotels
  • Traveling in a small group, maximum 12 passengers allowing a unique and intimate experience
Live commentary on board
Local naturalist guide
Air-conditioned vehicle
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Small group tour, maximum 12 people
Food and drinks

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
We pick up from all Rotorua accommodations within the city limits at the following times
Black Swan 8.05 am
Peppers on the Point 8.05 am
Koura Lodge 8.05 am
Cosy Cottage 8.05 am
Bella Vista 8.05 am
Top 10 holiday park 8.10 am
Novotel 8.10 am
Regent 8.10 am
Ibis 8.10 am
Aura Accommodation 8.10 am
Accolades 8.10 am
Princes Gate 8.15 am
Museum 8.15 am
YHA treks 8.15 am
Base 8.15 am
Quest 8.15 am
Millennium 8.20 am
Sudima 8.20 am
Rotorua central backpackers 8.20 am
Rydges 8.25 am
four canoes 8.25 am
Silver Fern 8.25 am
Regal Palms 8.25 am
Devonwood 8.25 am
Sport of Kings 8.25 am
Emerald Spa 8.25 am
Holiday Inn 8.30 am
Thermal Holiday park 8.30 am

Departure Time

8:30 AM
Your day trip starts with hotel pickup by minivan in Rotorua, then travels south through farmland and forests on a 20-minute drive to Wai-O-Tapu, the North Island’s geothermal wonderland. 

Step out to experience New Zealand’s most extensive volcanic marvel as you follow a clearly defined footpath that skirts a series of colorful hot springs, such as the Champagne Pool and the Mud Pool — a remnant of a mud volcano. Watch the daily eruption of the Lady Knox geyser while your guide informs your small group about the Mt Tarawera eruption, responsible for creating the spectacular thermal park.

Then depart for a short drive to the Waimangu volcanic valley. Your vehicle stops at Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake), two picturesque spots in the Bay of Plenty region. Visit the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, the site of a missionary-established Maori village that was destroyed in the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera. 

Finish with a bush walk to a waterfall and the Lake Tarawera lookout for photo ops before your full-day tour ends with transport back to your Rotorua hotel.
Stop At:  
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Journey to Wai O Tapu, one of the world's most surreal destinations. You will spend approximately 45-60min in the park before departing to the Lady Knox geyser.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Lady Knox Geyser
Our journey will guide you to the Lady Knox geyser who only erupts once a day at 10.15 am. Come along and found out the story behind her punctuality.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
We journey to the Jurassic Waimangu valley, the youngest geothermal eco-system in the world. Here we will witness first hand the power and beauty of mother nature and the aftermath of the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mt Tarawera. We spend approximately 90min here, including a 30min lunch break at the scenic Waimangu cafe.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Whakarewarewa - The Living Maori Village
Following our lunch break, we will journey to Whakarewarewa the living village. Whakarewarewa predates the city of Rotorua as the village has been home to several Maori tribes over the past 300-400 years. Our tour will focus on Maori sub-tribe Tuhourangi and how they have integrated within the village post the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mt Tarawera. The Village today is full of life with around 200 occupants and close to 500 hot springs and other geothermal features that have been a very valuable resource for our Maori people. We tend to spend 60 minutes here.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Buried Village of Te Wairoa
Our journey will conclude with a visit to Te Wairoa, the Buried Village. The buried village tells the story of Maori sub-tribe Tuhourangi whos lives where changed transformed when the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, buried there homes in 10 feet of mud. Follow the story of how Tuhourangi overcame adversity to establish a sustainable future for its people. We spend approximately 60min on site.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum age is 5 years
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Elite Adventures Rotorua Tours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Rotorua full-day tour, Wai O Tapu, Waimangu, Buried Village, Whakarewarewa?
This activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Rotorua full-day tour, Wai O Tapu, Waimangu, Buried Village, Whakarewarewa.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips

  • "There is a bit of down/up hill terrain to be aware of which one of moderate physical levels can easily manage." See review
  • "This is a must tour if you are in Rotorua." See review


45 Reviews
1 star
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews
Awesome Experience!
, Feb 2020
This was our favourite trip on our holiday!! We set off on the full day tour with 6 other people but they all left after the morning tour. My husband and I had Kay our guide to ourselves for the rest of the day. The places she took us to were awesome and so interesting. Kay is knowledgeable, fun and willing to answer any questions we had about the area. This is a must do tour when in Rotorua!
A must do in Rotorua
jenny l
, Dec 2019
Had a great day. Many great sights and educational if you have little time in Rotorua. Our guide Kay (sorry if spelling your name wrong) was amazing - she passed on her knowledge and passion for both the geothermal features and Maori culture to us and made the day amazing and memorable. P.s please get kay a button for her van!
Great tour!
Richard F
, Dec 2019
My husband and I loved this full day tour. We ended up being the only two on the tour and thanks to the best guide ever we had an amazing day. Our guide Kay was extremely knowledgeable of the history of Rotorua and all of New Zealand was well as the Maori people. She was very passionate and clearly loves sharing what she knows. It felt like she went above and beyond We had lots of questions, some more challenging than others and if she doesn't know something she asked other guides asking there way if they knew. The sights were incredible and she enhanced our experience even more.
Linda was simply amazing. She was very...
oneida a.
, Sep 2018
Linda was simply amazing. She was very kind, knowledgeable and taught me about the Maori culture past and present. She made me feel welcomed and comfortable since I was traveling alone. This tour is worth every penny and the beautiful locations in which you are taken to will take your breath away. I cannot say enough positive things about this experience. The waterfall was majestic and I felt honored to learn so much about the history of the Maori people. Please make sure you go into this experience with an open heart and a willingness to learn about another culture. This is a must tour if you are in Rotorua.
We only had 6 people on our tour and...
Ron G
, Feb 2018
We only had 6 people on our tour and it was amazing. Linda was very pleasant and knowledgeable about the history and geology of the area, and we thoroughly enjoyed her commentary. In the morning we focused on the geo thermal environment and in the afternoon the Maori culture. We would strongly recommend our guide.
The tour is a photographers dream...
, Dec 2017
The tour is a photographers dream, there is many subjects to choose from and the well placed paths ensure one has many great angles from which to capture their photo. There is a bit of down/up hill terrain to be aware of which one of moderate physical levels can easily manage. The living Maori Village is very interesting and nice to see as it demonstrates co-existence of traditional and modern living.
Had not heard of Rotorua before...
Kristina P
, Sep 2017
Had not heard of Rotorua before researching for our trip. All I can say is everyone needs to go. The scenery is surreal with little thermal vents everywhere. The morning portion of this tour was really mind blowing with the scenery. The afternoon portion was nice, just not as spectacular as the morning. Rotorua is a must see.
Huru was my guide for the full-day...
, Mar 2017
Huru was my guide for the full-day tour and he knew lots of things. He explained things passionately, especially about Maori culture. We first started with Wai-O-Tapu then to see Lady Knox Geyser. In the afternoon, he brought us to Te Puia where the carving and weaving skills were showcased. We also get a brief visit to see Kiwi bird in artificial nocturnal setting. Towards the end, we drove through the Blue Lake and Green Lake. Overall it was a day well spent!
Our guide, Huru, was fantastic and we...
, Jan 2017
Our guide, Huru, was fantastic and we had a great day discovering so many amazing places!
Really enjoyed this tour...
Sandy C
, Jan 2017
Really enjoyed this tour. Comfortable coach, the guide is very informative and funny. This tour roughly runs from 8:15-5:00 door to door time. There are quite a few walking tours, so it is better to wear comfortable shoes, and bring water and sunscreen. We went in summer, but the weather was quite up and down, it really depends on how everyone feels, but I'd recommend to bring a jacket. Just to add-on to the website's itinerary: After lunch we drove pass the Museum for some photos. We also head to the Whakarewarewa Village as our last stop.

Product code: 3647FD

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