The Pink and White Terraces were New Zealand’s first tourist attraction, and often considered to be the 8th wonder of the world. Europeans would travel from afar to bathe in the terraces pools. However, getting to the terraces was no easy task. Travelling from Europe to Lake Rotomahana took several months and involved a series of steps.

Beginning with a long boat journey from a European port, a traveler would disembark in Auckland and start making their way south through a variety of modes of transport.

One could expect to catch a steamer from Auckland to Tauranga, take a bridle track to Rotorua, board a coach to Lake Tarawera, then cross the Lake by boat, followed by a walk over the Isthmus pass to Lake Rotomahana, and finally paddle across Lake Rotomahana by canoe to the terraces.

A settlement was created nearby with accommodation for the visitors by lcoal Maori, and thus a cultural tourism industry was born.

Image credit: Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Unfortunately, in 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted destroying and burying the famous Pink and White Terraces. The eruption caused Mount Tarawera to break into 2 pieces, extinguishing all life within 6km of Rotomahana, resulting in the death of 120 people and numerous wildlife.

Lake Rotomahana was blown 20 times larger and 170 metres deeper as a result. After the 1886 explosion, Lake Rotomahana gradually refilled with water to reach its current size around 1900.

65_MtTarawera_Header-2000x1354 Image credit: New Zealand Geographic

Although the Pink and White Terraces were destroyed, Lake Rotomahana still offers a unique experience today with tours available through Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

Lake Rotomahana and its surroundings are a protected wildlife reserve, showcasing a reclaimed, unspoilt natural landscape, including the world's largest hot spring. A pure New Zealand experience.

Waimangu-1 Image credit: Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley offer a range of experiences including hiking tours and boat cruises. Enjoy a cruise on the beautifully still waters of the lake, discovering its unique history and the geothermal attractions that are only accessible by boat.

Or if you prefer to stay on land, check out their range of hikes and walks, and venture to the mysterious Inferno Crater which changes in size based on its temperature.

Check out Waimangu Volcanic Valley and their range of experiences.

Donne-Cliffs-Lake-Rotomahana-1 Image credit: Waimangu Volcanic Valley