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Wai-O-Tapu - How long to see everything?


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Hi everyone. 


Just wondering if someone who has been to Wai-O-Tapu (near Tauranga) could advise how long it takes roughly to see everything?  Just trying to plan out a day trip where we are hiring a car and driving there and trying to estimate how long we need at the park. 


Thanks in advance. 




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4 hours ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Their website says allow at least three hours. https://www.waiotapu.co.nz/plan-your-visit/


I would have thought less but it's many years since I last went there.

Thank you @OzKiwiJJ. I read the website but thought three hours seemed a lot for the features listed. Thanks for your help.

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3 hours ago, BoopTennis said:

Is there an entry fee for a non-guided tour?

There is an entrance fee, yes, and that covers the main thermal area and the geyser area. The fee is just an entrance fee, not a guided tour fee.

Edited by OzKiwiJJ
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There are three separate walks to do in Wai-o-tapu.  If you do all three it will probably take about 75-90 minutes, and allow another 30 mins to stop and take photos or walking breaks, so you could realistically do it in 2 hours without rushing.  The total walking is about 3 kilometres (almost 2 miles) and not really strenuous.  If you want to see the Lady Knox Geyser as well (erupts at 10.15am) then allow another hour, on a different road nearby (get there 20-30 minutes early for a good spot to see it).  This is probably why the website says allow three hours for the visit.

Edited by ozzandwitchy
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Absolutely allow at least 3 hours.   Leave your time flexible but be conservative with your transit estimate.    It is a distance to the car rental shuttle pickup.  And a horrific traffic area.     I like the Canyon route which adds about 15 minutes for me.   A LOT to see in the area.     I was there twice in December and looking to return next month.   


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I was just there, and only had an hour and 15 minutes as part of a day's tour (by choice; we saw other things).  If you have limited time as I did, you can still see the awesome Artist's Palette and Champagne Pool, walk across the bridge there, and see the emerald-colored pool.  We debarked too late to see the geyser, but that was not on my radar anyway, so no matter.  The walk I took was fairly easy.  Just follow the path and you'll get there before long. After the Champagne Pool I walked a bit more, but came to a large number of steps downhill.  I wasn't sure if I would have to go back up those steps (fairly steep) and didn't want to be late getting back to my spouse and tour guide.  Therefore, I decided to backtrack a short way and walk in the direction of the exit (marked at Champagne Pool) to go back out.  While only having that limited amount of time is certainly not even close to ideal, it was good enough for me.  I saved the map from Waiotapu; perhaps I can attach it later when I have more time. But I just followed the well-marked path from the start (just below the restrooms, where you're asked for your ticket and have your wrist stamped), read the placards along the way, took quick pictures (sorry for lopsided one of Artist's Palette, had to get down and shoot from wood fence to get what I wanted), and walked until I decided it was time to go back.  


The traffic along the beach area WAS slow and clogged up.  However, it was a beautiful late Sunday morning drive in the shadow of Mount Maunganui.





Edited by IWantToLiveOverTheSea
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