Free natural hot spring in Rotorua

Natural, hot spring, hot pool, Rotorua

One of the waterfalls at Kerosene Creek

Kerosene Creek

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 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).


Rotorua’s No. 1 Activity

Rotorua, New Zealand

The long swingbridge

Rotorua Canopy Tours

According to TripAdvisor, Rotorua Canopy Tours is currently the number 1 ranking activity in Rotorua. So what better place to start my new journey of discovery.

The tour is a 3 hour journey through virgin native forest on ziplines, swing bridges, and bush walks. While there is lots of fun to be had, one of the key focuses is on the conservation of this pristine environment.

The groups are kept small and intimate with only 10 per group, and run every hour in peak season.

Safety first

The journey starts at the headquarters in central Rotorua where you are weighed (120 kg max) and fitted with a harness and helmet. The day I visited there was drizzly rain and a good quality wet weather jacket was also provided.

From here you jump into a van with your 2 guides and set off north of Rotorua into the Dansey Scenic Reserve. The guides were both extremely professional and knowledgeable. They constantly checked our harnesses and safety lines which was very reassuring.

The fun begins

After a short walk through the forest we arrived at our first zipline platform. This is where the nerves kick in as you stand on that first platform ready to take the plunge. The long swing bridge also provides a few nervous moments as it bounces around over treetops metres below.

By the time we arrived at the longest zipline the nerves were gone and I was able to enjoy the scenery as I flew past trees to a hidden platform.

For adventure seeking adrenalin junkies it would probably not be at the top of their list. But as an opportunity to have fun while getting up close and personal with New Zealand in its natural state, it’s fantastic.

Conservation message

As a bird and tree lover I was impressed to see how much conservation work Canopy Tours are doing in the forest. While the pest control is obviously part of the partnership plan to be able to operate within a national reserve, they seem to be truly committed and passionate about making a difference.

One of the highlights for me was being able to handfeed two rare birds that are returning to the forest – a North Island robin and a tomtit. I also loved being able to hug a 500 year old rimu tree, which was used for a zipline platform.

Welcome to my piece of paradise

Definition of paradise

a very beautiful, pleasant, or peaceful place that seems to be perfect,
a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity,
a state of complete happiness”  (Extract from the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

That’s where I live, in Paradise Valley, Rotorua. What description could be more suitable for this beautiful part of the world.

I live on a 2 acre block of land that has Mt Ngongotaha on 1 side, and the Ngongotaha Stream on the other. I’m surrounded by farmland and fantastic views, and have a large garden that I enjoy playing around with. This is my little piece of paradise.

I also love living in Rotorua. I am constantly amazed at how much this city has to offer – both for locals living here and visitors from overseas.  Nowhere else in New Zealand (maybe even the world) is there such a huge range of activities and attractions.

  • Geothermal wonders – volcanoes, geysers, mud pools, hot springs
    Maori culture – crafts, Maori villages, cultural shows
    Scenic beauty – lakes, mountains, streams, forests
    Adventure – bungy, swoop, zorb, river rafting, jet boating
    History / heritage – farming, forestry, volcanic eruptions
    Sport – mountain biking, cycling, marathons, multisports, golf
    Trout fishing in the many lakes and rivers
    Beautiful gardens – Rotorua is frequently voted most beautiful small city in NZ

The journey ahead

I am about to embark on a journey of discovery by exploring more of this unique place that I live in. I want to look at everything with fresh eyes and share my experiences. Many of the places I visit I will never have been to before, even though I have lived here for several years.

This is my first blog in what I plan to be an ongoing series about living in Rotorua.  As I am new to the blogging world I am keen to see how this will evolve. My plan at this stage is to cover a wide range of topics, eg

  • Places visited
    Trout fishing
    Weather, even

Who knows. Isn’t that what writing is about. Exploring the world around you (or within you) – and that’s what I intend to do.

Please feel free to add suggestions or share experiences as I progress on this journey of discovery.