Kerosene Creek used to be one of those hidden gems that only locals knew about. Now, through social media and review sites like TripAdvisor, it has become another ‘must do’ for visitors to Rotorua.
Natural hot spring pools
Kerosene Creek is a natural thermal hot stream and waterfall in a bush setting about 30 minutes south of Rotorua. From the carpark there is a short walk through the bush to the stream itself. Once you get to the stream it is just a matter of finding a spot at the right temperature to suit. The large waterfall pool is the most popular, and is a great spot to chat with other travellers.
The name Kerosene Creek comes from the smell of the water, and the minerals can tarnish jewellery as well. Swimwear also needs a good wash afterwards – but it’s well worth the effort.
Free for all to enjoy
Yes, Kerosene Creek is free. Which is probably one of the reasons it has become so popular. It also has a reputation as a local hang out and skinny dipping (bathing naked) spot which can occasionally be a problem.
However, I’ve been here a number of times with friends visiting Rotorua and have never had any trouble. I’ve seen a few people getting changed in the bushes though. If you are shy there is a toilet that can be used for changing.
All my friends have really enjoyed this unique Rotorua experience, as have the majority of reviewers on TripAdvisor.
How to find Kerosene Creek
Drive south of Rotorua heading towards Taupo on State Highway 5. Keep on this road for approximately 30km. Eventually you will pass the turnoff to Murupara on the left which means you are getting close. You will also pass Rainbow Mountain on the left and Lake Ngahewa on the right.
Just past this is Old Waiotapu Road on the left, and there will also be a sign for Kerosene Creek on the opposite side of SH5. Travel down Old Waiotapu Road for approximately 2.km and you will see the carpark on the right. This is an unsealed gravel road and can be very bumpy when being used by logging trucks.
Note – Google Maps say it is down Old Walotappu Road, but this is incorrect (don’t you hate it when they get it wrong).