New Zealand, Rotorua 21

Magical experience at steaming waterfalls of Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

They say the best things in life are free…whilst I agree with this philosophy in theory – for example, money cannot measure precious time with family, children’s laughter, enjoying wonders of nature – I am also practical enough to know money goes a long way to enable us the luxery in enjoying these priceless things and the opportunity to travel a lot!

BUT I can happily say that the best thing during our 5 day campervan trip around Rotorua,  New Zealand, the most magical experience and our utmost favourite activity we did here was free 🙂


Steamy waterfalls of Kerosene Creek

We packed in a lot in this trip – a 10k race through Redwood forest, lugeing, OGOing (similar to zorbing), museum, hike, several spa and hotpools fun, Te Puia with bursting geysers and Maori cultural performance and few delicious meals out in city centre. Most of these activities are mentioned in Lonely Planet and other travel books and websites as popular things to do in Rotorua. We had also been to Wai-O-Tapu on a previous trip here.  Kerosene Creek is not mentioned in the top ten “Must Do” things (most must do things you have to pay for as well here). It was just recommended by co workers and few mentions on local travel sites. Number #16 on Trip Adviser.

Our time at Kerosene Creek was a very surreal experience. Although there are several well known mineral rich spas and hot pools here – it is one of the reasons the active geothermal region of Rotorua is famous – most of it you have to either pay or stay at their resort to enjoy them. The likes of Waikiti Thermal Pools and Polynesian Spa, one of which  we enjoyed (at a cost), were really lovely. I am a sucker for spas but am always burdened with guilt at the amount of energy that’s wasted in keeping the water heated, so it was wonderful being able to enjoy natural hotpools heated by forces of nature everywhere in Rotorua!  But even though the famous spas here are fed by natural sources, the overall environment is still ‘builtup’ and very crowded.

Can you imagine the joy we experienced when we walked through native bush, crossed several heated streams and then shaded by forests, under the canopy of tall trees, you had this large stream and waterfalls with 36 degree waters 🙂 The temperature outside was 15! This is our first video post and I didn’t know how to edit and shorten the clip, or do anything else with it.


We had read that it tends to get crowded and that it was best to go in the morning hours to avoid the crowds. Not sure if it was because of the low season – end of May, start of winter – but there were just two other couples in the water and us. We had gone around 11am. When we were leaving there were few other people arriving but nothing like the hoards of people we experienced elsewhere in this tourist region of New Zealand.

It is not easy to get to, there is 2.2 km of driving off road and it is not well signposted. To get detailed directions, see here. It’s very near to Waikite Thermal Valley and about half hour’s drive from Rotorua city centre going south towards Lake Taupo. There are several warnings of vandalism taking place at the car park and you won’t find ammenities like toilets or rubbish bins. But for nature outdoor lovers like us, (and spa lover like me), this was the ultimate place to enjoy both! We met one guy who was just on a long cycle ride, stopped here to refresh his tired legs and was off again cycling. In the car park we saw few hikers getting ready to do the same.

A glimpse of our lovely time here…a truly wonderful free experience 🙂 I would highly recommend this to anyone, few of the reviews had said this is only good for nature loving outdoorsy people, but I beg to differ. I think most people would pay money to have such an experience…and you can have it here for free!

Linked to #MondayEscapes Our World Tuesday and Nature’s Notes

natures notes

Our World Tuesday


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  • Gin says: June 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Oh this looks awesome, I would love to have a soak over there. What a beautiful environment.

  • The Educational Tourist says: June 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    What a fantastic place! Sounds like a lovely holiday. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  • Aileen says: June 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    You took such amazing photos!! This is honestly the first time that I’ve heard of this place but rest assured, it’s on my travel list now! 😀 You guys looked like you had an amazing time.

    • says: June 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      We really did 🙂 glad it has made it to your travel list!

  • matt says: June 15, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Wow, great find! Really nice article and great photos! It truly looks like an awesome place to visit, especially since it is free. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • says: June 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      It really was a lovely place, surprised it’s not mentioned in the books more! guess because it is free..

  • Karilyn Owen says: June 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Looks amazing! I have been following your adventures in NZ and filling up our to do list for when we make it there!

    • says: June 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks for reading about our adventures 🙂 Hope you and the family get to make it here soon! Some decent flights from LA to here!

  • Eileen says: June 16, 2015 at 11:23 am

    What a pretty spot you found, the waterfalls is gorgeous. I enjoyed your video of the family swimming.. Enjoy your week!

  • Laura Hegfield says: June 16, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    What a beautiful place!

  • Tim says: June 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    That is an incredible little gem. Years ago it was a local only place and not really marked for anyone to find. It is worth sharing though as it is a beautiful spot. Hopefully it will stay that way.

    • says: June 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      I really hope it stays this way too Tim! Don’t want some company to buy and make it into a spa resort of some really is a gem of a place 🙂

  • Packing my Suitcase says: June 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

    WOW!! That’s amazing!
    I looove natural hot pools, in Brazil we have some of them in the most unexpected places.
    I agree with you about the spa pools, so nothing better than be in a natural one, plus being in contact with nature 😀

    Thank you for linking up to #MondayEscapes 😀

  • Sarah Ebner says: June 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    This looks absolutely incredible! I love the video – it gives you such a feel for what it must have been like. A brilliant experience. Fab that you found out about it (and that, as you say, it’s free!)

    • says: June 17, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks Sarah, it was quite an amazing experience, I need to work on shortening my video’s the first time I posted a video and couldnt figure out settings on how to shorten it. Glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • Christine says: June 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    That looks incredible and well worth the extra journey to get there. I cannot imagine a similar place in the UK – it would be packed! #Mondayescapades

  • Michelle RamblingWoods says: June 17, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Oh how wonderful the photos and the adorable video. Perfect place to enjoy family time even if it was a bit of a challenge to get there… Glad it was not crowded…Michelle

  • bevchen says: June 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Oh wow, this really does look magical! Gorgeous scenery. #MondayEscapes

  • Tami says: June 22, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun, and great family bonding!

  • Jolanta | Casual Traveler says: June 24, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Yeah, we DEFINITELY have to go to New Zealand some time. I have to see this place! I’m a sucker for fog, and this place looks absolutely lovely! Thank you for sharing!

  • Shandos says: March 7, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Wow, this looks cool! I used to date a guy who’s family lived near Rotorua, so I’ve visited the town many times, but I’ve never heard of this! Would have loved to visit for a swim!

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