Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park
Welcome to Orakei Korako
Cross the beautiful Waikato River between Rotorua and Taupo and discover Orakei Korako Cave and Thermal Park. Also known as the Hidden Valley, Orakei Korako is a unique visitor attraction – not to be missed.
Phone: view phone+64 7 378 3131
E-mail: send an e-mail
DescriptionOrakei Korako is only accessible by boat. The boat fare is included in the admission fee.
Our boats do not run on a timetable but leave on request throughout the day.
You may visit the valley as soon as you arrive but if you would like to have a coffee or lunch in the cafe, or browse the
souvenir shop first, you are welcome to do so. Both café and shop are open all day.
From earliest times, the Waikato Valley near Orakei Korako was occupied by Maori of the Ngati Tahu sub-tribe
Tuwharetoa.By the early 1800’s, the Maori population had congregated at Orakei Korako, attracted by the hot springs. “O” is the place of “rakei” adornment. “Korako” meaning white, describing the glittering (sinter) flat. A diary entry for the 11 March 1850 recorded that the Maoris lived in this spot “to spare their woman the trouble of
procuring wood for fuel. They seldom light a fire; everything is cooked in the springs. ”The exact date that the Ngati
Tahu people vacated Orakei Korako to settle elsewhere is not recorded, but it is likely that they left soon after the
eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. By the turn of the century, all but two families had moved from Orakei Korako. The earliest known route from Rotorua
to Taupo for early European travellers passed right through Orakei Korako.
The Maori people provided a dug out canoe for the river crossings. In the early 1900’s the geothermal area was already
established as a visitor attraction. A dug-out was used until the 1930's to transfer visitors across the then swift Waikato
River. Afterwards, a wire strop and pulley system was placed across the river to make the crossing easier. In April 1937, a Rotorua company called Orakei Korako Ltd obtained a 21 year lease with the right of renewal for another
21 years. The road was improved for motor traffic and a punt was installed to transport visitors across the river. Orakei Korako was officially opened as a tourist resort on 15 December 1937. The cave and thermal park now caters to a
large number of both domestic and international visitors but the hidden valley still retains the beauty and serenity that
it has always held.
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.
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