Business Type: Cave & Thermal Park
Welcome to Orakei Korako - The Hidden Valley!
Come and explore a world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world.
Phone: view phone+64 7 378 3131
E-mail: send an e-mail
Wander through the Hidden Valley and visit the thermal Ruatapu Cave which extends more than 36m down to the 'Waiwhakaata' or 'Pool of Mirrors' hot pool at the bottom.
Orakei Korako boasts the most active geysers of any geothermal park in New Zealand. Up to 23 active natural geysers play freely through the area, which is constantly changing. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colours all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. The Lonely Planet Guide describes Orakei Korako as "...arguably the best thermal area left in New Zealand".
Somewhat 'off the beaten track', the Hidden Valley lies nestled between Taupo and Rotorua. Orakei Korako is a mere 25 minute drive from Taupo and 45 from Rotorua, and not far from State Highway 1 and State Highway 5. If you don't feel like driving, why not take a shuttle, float plane or helicopter instead?
This is a great activity for anyone staying in Taupo or Rotorua, whether you're a tourist, a local, or simply someone looking to enjoy a unique slice of New Zealand. And Orakei Korako offers a tourism experience without the thronging crowds.
Feel free to bring the whole family - even your dog! Start your adventure with a piping hot latté from our MudCake Café - and finish with delicious fresh baking and a glass of wine. Stay connected while you're here with free wi-fi at the Visitor Centre.
Admission prices include the ferry trip to and from the attraction, along with entrance to the valley and cave. The ferry runs on demand from 8am each morning, with the last trips leaving at 4pm over the winter months and 4.30pm during Daylight Saving. Get your tickets today - we're looking forward to meeting you!
Orakei Korako (also know as 'The Hidden Valley') is a highly active geothermal area situated on the Waikato River at Lake Ohakuri, which is part of the hydro-electric power scheme. The formation of the lake raised the Waikato River at Orakei Korako by 18m, flooding more than 250 hot springs and geysers. Even with two thirds of the original geothermal area covered by the artificial lake, Orakei Korako is still New Zealand's largest geyser field and one of the country's must-see natural attractions.
Visitors admiring stunning silica terraces at Orakei KorakoStunning Silica Terraces
The naturally fault-stepped silica terraces that form the base of Orakei-Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park are believed to be the largest of their kind since the destruction of the famous Pink and White Terraces in 1886 on the edge of Lake Rotomahana beneath Mount Tarawera.
The jade green 'Emerald Terrace' is the lowest of these, and up to 20 million litres of silica enriched water can flow over the terrace into Lake Ohakuri each day. The three terraces above the Emerald were formed by a huge earthquake in 131AD. These fault scarps (steps) are topped with black, green and yellow algae - which grows in temperatures between 35 - 49 degrees Celsius.
The Rainbow and Cascade terraces are graced with several small geysers, including the intermittently active Sapphire Geyser.
The Golden Fleece Terrace is the third and largest fault scarp in the Hidden Valley, at 40m long and 5m high. Covered in a stunning white sinter coating, its Maori name is 'Te Kapua' - "The Cloud".
Visitors peering into the unique geothermal cave at Orakei Korako
NZ's Only Geothermal Cave - A Unique Natural Attraction
The highlight for many visitors to Orakei Korako is the thermal Ruatapu Cave (Sacred Hole). The cave extends more than 35m down to a hot pool at the bottom named 'Waiwhakaata' (Pool of Mirrors). It's one of only two known caves in the world located in a geothermal field. Access to the pool is prohibited, but the viewing platform provides a safe location for viewing the cave. The beautifully clear pool contains warm acid water.
There is a vast number of mud pools and hot springs on display at Orakei Korako, along with extensive bush walks to take in native flora and fauna.
Hours of work
8.00am, with the last boat leaving for the thermal area at 4.30 pm in the summer, and 4.00pm in the winter.
The average sightseeing time is approximately 1 hour, but visitors often like to spend the morning or afternoon wandering this thermal wonderland.
Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park, also known as The Hidden Valley, is located off the beaten track, between Taupo and Rotorua.
If driving from Rotorua, travel down State Highway 5, the turnoff to Orakei Korako is 3km south of Golden Springs. Turn right on to the Tutukau Rd, travel 16kms then turn right onto Orakei Korako Rd, travel 5kms to the end of the road. Approximate driving time from Rotorua is 45 minutes.
If driving from Taupo head north on State Highway 1,in the direction of Hamilton, the turnoff to Orakei Korako is 14kms from the junction of State Highways 1 and 5 at Wairakei, turn right on to the Tutukau Rd, travel 9kms then turn left onto Orakei Korako Rd, travel 5kms to the end of the road. Approximate driving time from Taupo is 25 minutes.
Click here for Slideshow. You can also click on any of the photos to start slideshow.