Hells gate is really interesting, especially for those who have never experienced a thermal area before.
Be wary though, and obey the signs, stick to the paths as the ground is not exactly safe.
Hells Gate is one of the many geothermal areas around Rotorua and Taupo. I went on a quiet morning where it was basically me and a few others walking around looking at the geothermal marvels inside.
Mud volcanos, Devil's cauldron, Cooking Pool etc are all quite cool. Boiling mud!
Prepare to get hot, it may be winter but all that hot steam makes it a hot morning out!
Good value for money. Other alternatives are Whakerawerewa (or something) or Wai-O-Tapo on the way to Taupo
Hells Gate is a vulcanic active region with lakes and puddles full of boiling water and mud. The place smells with sulfur and has funny signs everywhere to warn you not to wander from the path. It's also the home of Kakahi Falls, the largest hot waterfall of the Southern Hemisphere. Maori warriors would bath here to heal their wounds. It's really cool to walk around there.
This thermal reserve is so beautiful because it is so awful. Awful because a lot of the attractions exist of boiling mud pools, dirty sulphur baths, grey rock and sinter formations and black water pools.
And what about some of the name’s: Devil’s Bath, Heel’s Gate, Devil’s Throat, Sodom and Gomorrah and Devil’s Cauldron.
But there are also bright yellow sulphur crystals and a green native bush with some unique plants. And off course the birds, which are so tame that they eat (almost) from your hand.
Hell’s Gate has a couple of unique thermal spots:
- the largest (hot) water fall is a kind of an outside shower.
- the only mud volcano of New Zealand
- the steaming cliffs pool with a temperature above 100ºC.
All the attractions are situated more or less along a track of about 2,5 km’s. And the whole area is so violent, we didn’t feel any urge to leave the path.
Hell’s Gate: smell the sulphur and feel the power of the earth.
Hells Gate Thermal Reserve is Rotorua's most active thermal reserve set in 50 acres with a large variety of geothermal features. Walk past steaming fumeroles and pools of boiling mud so violent they can be a bit unnerving.
You must heed to warning signs, stay on the path other wise your boiled human. Its that hot. Once you have had your walk around the pools you then must take a mud spa and bath, its wondefull, just don't get any in your eyes and wash your clothes seprately when you get home, other wise everything will smell of sulpher.
At Helll's gate you will walk past steaming fumeroles and pools of boiling mud so violent they are unnerving. No need to heed the warning signs, you'll want to hug the path.
The walk through Hells gate takes about 1 hour.
Cost: Adult $16 Child $8 ( under 16) Family $40
There's also med pools available. I would recommend them
$50 Adult $20 Child $120 Family
As every tourist attraction needs a superlative for marketing the one of Hell's Gate & Waiora Spa is: Rotorua's Most Active Geothermal Area.
Well, that might be it. There is really quite some noisy activity around the steaming fumeroles and boiling mud pools, but I do not think they were so violent that they became unnerving to us, as the information sheets suggested. The hot waterfall of Kakahi Falls was even quite impressive. But if you expect the spectacular colour of Wai-O-Tapu or Orakei Korako you will be disappointed. Apart from that it is Rotorua's smallest reserve. It is located east on the way to Lake Rotoiti and Whakatane.
The major colour is the grey of the rocks, behind an eternal veil of sulphurous steam, all surrounded by native bush.
A feature that clearly distinguishes Hell's Gate from the other geothermal reserves of the area are the two spa complexes where you can take a bath, even a mud bath, and get a relaxing massage. The Hell's Gate spa facilities overlook the geothermal reserve, the other spa named Wai Ora (Healthy Waters) is more private.
The benefit of the mud is multi-fold. It promotes the regeneration of skin cells, detoxifies and purifies the skin, and has anti-bacterial effects. You might know this from your skin masks at home - but at Wai Ora you get it directly where it comes from.
Admission (as Feb. 2007):
$25, children $10. - Reserve plus sulphur spa bath $35/15.
Mud packages which include general admission, mud baths, 1hr massage and more from $230, also cheaper options without massage.
At Hell's Gate Visitors have the unique opportunity to touch and feel the earth's power. Touch the beautifully soft hot water of the Sulphur Lake. Another unique feature of Hell's Gate is the magnificent Kakahi Falls - the largest hot water fall in the Southern Hemisphere.