Kerosene Creek Hot Springs, New Zealand

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: March 14th, 2024

As a volcanic nation located at the southwest end of the Pacific Ring of Fire, New Zealand is a hotbed of geothermal activity and is home to around 110 hot springs. However, of these thermal pools, none quite compare to the natural beauty of the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs.

Located near the North Island’s Rotorua, a city affectionately nicknamed New Zealand’s geothermal capital, the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs is a series of cascades that boast year-round warm temperatures, soothing mineral waters, and are surrounded by plenty of foliage for a surreal ambiance in a picturesque environment.

While several hot spring spas and thermal pool facilities are offered within Rotorua and the surrounding regions, the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs are an undeveloped complex that allows visitors to fully immerse in the thermal mineral waters in the same primitive setting that visitors to the creek have enjoyed for centuries.

From accessing the tucked-away thermal pools to the best soaking practices and surrounding attractions, this is everything you need to know before visiting the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs.

Kerosene Creek Hot Springs Facilities

Kerosene-Creek-Hot-Springs

Located just off of Old Waiotapu Road, the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs occupy approximately 800 meters of the body of water. Boasting year-round warm temperatures, the cool waters of the creek combine with the waters of an underground hot spring which percolates through the ground.

The result is a cascading creek of comfortably warm mineral waters that attracts visitors from around the world thanks to the soothing therapeutic properties of the mineral spring and the pristine natural setting of the surrounding foliage.

While the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs are world-renowned for their primitive nature and undeveloped pools, the hot springs feature basic comfort amenities, including an onsite parking lot and changing rooms for a convenient soak.

From the parking lot, visitors can follow an 800-meter trail that weaves alongside the hot spring creek. Several soaking areas are available along the entire length of the trail, and visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking immersion into the island’s natural environments throughout the hike.

The best soaking spots within the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs are about 300 meters into the trail, just after the first cascades. This sizeable thermal pool offers plenty of space to swim while listening to the creek’s tranquil, sustained crackling.

Unfortunately, this thermal pool can get crowded fairly quickly during tourist season since it is near the start of the trail. If this is the case, visitors should continue along the path to one of the many other soaking spots, including a waterfall-fed pool.

Attractions Near the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs

Tucked away in the countryside of New Zealand’s geothermal capital, the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs is surrounded by many natural attractions, including several hiking trails and hot spring destinations.

Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve

Rainbow-Mountain-Scenic-Reserve
Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve, by Rotorua Via Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz

One of the most picturesque peaks on New Zealand’s North Island, the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve is located just north of the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs. It provides visitors with an explorative hike of the region.

Known to the local Maori as Maungakakaramea, or the Mountain of Coloured Earth, this iconic landmark is an active geothermal mountain that has cooled in recent years to allow local vegetation to regrow and thrive within its crater.

There are two hiking trails featured within the park. The first is the relatively easy Crater Lakes Walk which features two volcanic craters set against steaming cliffs. The second more trying trail is the Summit Track. This 2.5 km out-and-back trail leads visitors to the summit of the mountain, where they can enjoy 360-degree views of the picturesque geothermal landscape.

The Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve is a fantastic spot for exploring the scenic attractions of New Zealand before dipping into the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs, where the natural mineral waters can soothe well-worn hiking muscles.

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland

Waiotapu-Thermal-Wonderland-Pool

While the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs offer one of the country’s most surreal thermal pool soaking experiences, no visit to New Zealand’s geothermal capital would be complete without first visiting the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. This attraction highlights the Rotorua region and the land’s geothermal activity in unique ways.

The main part of the complex’s property is aptly named Geothermal Park. Visitors can explore a unique natural landscape formed over thousands of years of volcanic activity. These colorful and diverse monuments guide visitors through one of the most extensive geothermal networks in the country.

Other attractions within the Waiotapu include the Lady Knox Geyser, which features water spouts shooting 10-20 meters in the air, and the complex’s famous Mud Pools, the largest in New Zealand and the remnants of a large mud volcano destroyed by erosion in the 1920s.

Accommodations Options at Kerosene Creek Hot Springs, New Zealand

Accommodations-at-Kerosene-Creek-Hot-Springs

As a primitive hot spring with minimal development, no accommodations operate in the region directly surrounding the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs. Luckily, Rotorua is located only 25 minutes north of the thermal pools and offers several hotels for all travel budgets.

Located near the entrance to Whakarewarewa Forest Park, the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park offers a budget-friendly accommodation option near the city’s southern edges. The affordable private cabin accommodation is fully equipped with private bathrooms and kitchens and provides a convenient location for exploring the surrounding landscapes.

The Lava Lodge is a fantastic mid-range alternative located within the heart of the city. Situated just across the street from Kuirau Park, which features public geothermal pools, this comfortable accommodation option features an onsite bar, sun deck, and a local DJ most evenings.

Visitors seeking maximum comfort during their stay in Rotorua should book their accommodation in the city at the Quest Rotorua Central. This cozy hotel option features plenty of luxury amenities and is conveniently located to host a vacation to several of the region’s top geothermal destinations.

Getting to the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs, New Zealand

The easiest way to access the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs is by private car. From Rotorua, visitors just need to follow State Highway 5 south towards Raupo.

After about 30 km, visitors will pass by the turnoff to Murupara. Continue driving until you come to Old Waiotapu Road at the next left turn. After following the gravel road for a further 2.2 km, visitors will arrive at the grass parking lot leading to the creek.

Unfortunately, the nearest international airport to the Kerosene Creek Hot Springs is located slightly further in the northern city of Tauranga.

If planning a day trip to the springs from here, visitors must follow State Highway 36 to Rotorua before continuing the rest of the way, as detailed above. This further journey adds about an hour to the overall drive.

Details

  • Address: Old Waiotapu Road, Waiotapu 3073, New Zealand
  • Season: Year-round
  • Facebook Page: Kerosene Creek Hot Springs
  • GPS Coordinates: -38.33385, 176.38638

About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. He began his professional writing career while in school as a sports journalist. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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