Rotorua Area

Kerosene Creek near Rotorua… thought I’d give a quick comparison on our experience of this over the decades.

Henry, Joe and Freya in summer 2003

Henry, Joe and Freya in summer 2003

The natural hot creek is accessed by turning off State Highway 5, south of Rotorua, and driving along the unsealed Old Waiotapu Road for about ten minutes. Just before you reach a gate which prevents further access, pull into the parking area on the right and set off through the bush along a well-trodden path.


In 2003, our visit here coincided with a vehicle break-in. We had been warned about the possibility of this by staff at Wai-a-Tapu Thermal Wonderland so took precautions with our motorhome. In 2018, we did not know if this was still a potential crime spot but were extra careful and kept an eye out for unusual activity. We did see some rather rough-looking people turn up in a van, a man got out briefly with his dog but didn’t walk it which seemed odd. They hung around and it looked as if they were casing the joint.

We got there early in the morning and there was a couple already in the waterfall; then a crowd of people came along the path towards us, but walked past. It was a case of take your turn, because sitting in the horseshoe-shaped waterfall is the most exciting thing to do here.


One thing we noticed was that the water temperature was cooler than it had been in 2003. So, was it the time of year? It would figure that in the height of summer the creek would be hotter… or was this a more long-term change?

In late November 2003 it was like a very hot bath, turning your skin red after a few minutes; you couldn’t stay in for long. In early April 2018, the water was like a barely warm bath, but definitely an interesting experience for a natural water feature if you are not accustomed to this. The one advantage was, we could stay in the water for longer!