Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Rotorua

4.0
#4 of 6 in Historic Sites in Rotorua
Historic Site Tourist Spot
Stories of New Zealand's largest eruption come to life at Buried Village of Te Wairoa, a popular archaeological site in the heart of the volcanic plateau of North Island. Follow the scenic pathways through pristine nature up to the waterfall overlooking the remote volcanic scenery. While there, try to catch a glimpse of the native rainbow trout. At the museum, discover the valuable collection of Victoriana, including the excavated remains of a Maori village and recreated scenes from the lasting devastation of the Tarawera eruption. Ask the guide to tell you the legend of the phantom canoe. Geological treasures include the pink and white terraces, which had been hidden in the depths of the lake but were recently excavated and made available to the public. Amenities include a tearoom nestled in tranquil native bush, a children's playground, and a gift shop. With our online itinerary creator, Rotorua attractions like Buried Village of Te Wairoa can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
826 reviews
Google
4.2
  • An interesting place to visit with all the history. This was very interesting and we were lucky to find it. Good site to visit.  more »
  • We visited here with out three kids, the ladies at reception where very welcoming and service was great..they sent kids on a scavenger hunt which made it interesting for them and they where given a tr...  more »
  • we happened to be in NZ during it's coldest time of the year and the wettest too (July). But despite that, we enjoyed the walk of Buried Village of Te Wairoa. Maybe the weather is the reason whey we d...  more »
Google
  • My mum used to take me here as a kid and I took my kids for the first time. It really is worth a visit to see just happened on the morning. Do not miss the waterfall walk
  • An excavation site of a village that was burried under volcanic eruption from a near by volcano many years ago. The site take 2-3 hours to visit. Has very beautiful and relaxing cafe and waiting lounge. 30 dollars for adults though đŸ˜”
  • Very interesting. Worthwhile doing the whole walk including the waterfall. Amazing. Good food and coffee.
  • The best way I can describe this place is the “Pompeii of New Zealand”. I have to be honest to say I was not expecting more than another tourist trap, but it far exceeded my expectations! Firstly, the gift shop you enter the ladies are dressed in era appropriate garb and you automatically feel like you have kinda gone back in time a bit. So that was comforting. One of the nice ladies behind the register even gave me a bit of a “rainy day discount” since it was raining pretty hard at that point and she took pity on me. She also provided an umbrella upon request, which was very nice. You get an informative little laminated map card that tells you your route and all the things you are looking at. You start in the museum, which was one of my favorite parts! The Maori art they had in the museum were just incredible! Seriously, some of the woodworks were jaw-dropping in the grandeur of the piece and the ornate details. There is a piece below the story of the day the volcano erupted about the ghost war canoe that had me mesmerized for what felt like hours! It was just so beautiful and intricate! They did an excellent job explaining what happened, why the village was such a tourist hotspot prior to the eruption, and the aftermath. They even had handwritten excerpts from a journal of a family member who lost his family in the eruption that day. It was extremely poignant and I highly recommend taking your time to really appreciate the museum portion. There were a group of people who came in after me that literally just walked through it w/o even stopping once before going outside. The grounds are pretty spread out and you basically just see the excavation sites of the different features that existed in the village. Some have artifacts that were recovered on display, which are pretty neat, especially the bottles, tea cups, and welding tools. It is a bit somber. As you come to one of the last excavation sites, you start to walk along a stream and it is simply gorgeous! Because of the rain, I basically had the place to myself as the group that ran through the museum was long gone, and it was just very tranquil standing by the little waterfalls of the babbling brook with the sound of the rain on my umbrella. It was a great experience to have in a place like this. When you end the grounds tour you have a choice to hike down to a waterfall. This is a must! The waterfall is just wow and you can get right up to it! You hike down steps and dirt and then hike back up a different way, but the boardwalks by the waterfalls are just awesome! I had it to myself and it a pretty spiritual experience. I could have stood there in front of the initial thundering falls all day! The hike back to the visitor center is about 5mins and they have some great Maori inspired pieces and art work to purchase for souvenirs. All in all a great experience for the price of admission (with my discount it was $22US) and I left with a little trinket that will have sentimental value tied to that experience here!
  • This place was pretty cool, it was interesting to hear about a piece of New Zealand history that was somewhat unheard of. Both the destruction of the village and the terraces.

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Where to stay in Rotorua

Rotorua has a range of different accommodations, mainly centered around the lake itself. In this downtown area you will find luxury hotels and hostels, many benefitting from good views of the surrounding scenery. Farther out of the town, comfortable motels offer those with a car a good option for setting up a base from which to explore the area. Campers and others wanting to enjoy the outdoors as soon as possible can opt for campsites and RV parks, all best accessed by car or taxi.
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