the sky.

Come experience a land where myth and legend come to life, where the earth boils, mud heals, and steam disappears into the clouds above.
Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

Where the earth
inspires and excites.

Brought to life by Rūaumoko, our land has inspired stories and excited visitors since the dawn of time. Around every turn you’ll experience something different - from cooking pools and steaming cliffs, to the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. Witness the mud volcano eruptions and land coral which grows day-by-day, and you’ll see first-hand why this place is called Hell’s Gate. It’s more than just mud or steam, it’s a place of inspiration.

Where mud has healed
for centuries.

Once bathed in by Māori warriors, the mud and waters of Tikitere have soothed battle-scarred bodies for centuries. To this very day our nutrient-rich water relaxes the body, while our mud gently exfoliates the skin. Take the time out to experience this healing for yourself, with a soak in the sulphur pool and full body mud coverage. You’ll leave rejuvenated and fresh, ready for the rest of your adventure.

Hell's Gate Mud Spa
Hell's Gate Geothermal Walk

Where native bush
becomes theatre.

Hell’s Gate is surrounded by thriving native flora, waiting for you to walk through. Thanks to the geothermal activity in this area, the bushland is unique to anywhere else. The nutrient-rich soil and warm temperatures give life to trees like the silver fern and rare mosses you won’t find elsewhere. The bush is also home to our treasured Kakahi Falls, which are as beautiful as they are significant to local Māori.

Where the earth
feeds and nourishes.

This powerful land does more than excite those who experience it, it feeds us too. Generations of Māori have harnessed the geothermal activity bursting through the ground, using it to cook with. Traditional cuisine and techniques have been adapted to work with this unique location. Experience this for yourself when you feast on delicacies handpicked from land and sea, prepared by chefs in our cooking pool and geothermal hangi.

Hell's Gate Cooking Pool
Hell's Gate Carving

Where our stories
are works of art.

Carving has long been an important art form in our Māori culture. It’s used to tell our stories and pass down our heritage to the next generation. The carvings can depict many unique stories - from who we are as people and where we’re from, to tales about discovery and the beginning of life. Here at Hell’s Gate our carvers will guide you through carving a piece of your story, so you too can share it with generations to come.

Geothermal Reserve Map


  • 0.6km track - 25 minutes
  • 1.5km track - 45 minutes
  • 2.0km track - 1 hour
Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand Mud Footpool Devil's Bath Ink Pots Hurutini Hell's Gate Baby Adam Sulphur Bath Inferno Pool Sodom &s; Gomorrah Infants Spraying Pools Bush Walk Kakahi Falls Map of Australia Sulphur Crystal Valley Devil's Cauldron Mud Volcano Steaming Cliffs Cooking Pool Medicine Lake Steaming Fumeroles Interactive Carving House Entrance Cafe

Mud Footpool Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Relax by bathing your feet in warm, soft, silky geothermal mud after your walk. It's a soothing experience you won't want to miss. You'll find our Mud Foot Pool by the Devil's Bath and Hell's Gate Spa. (Temporarily unavailable)

Devil's Bath Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 45°C

The Devil's Bath is a small, shallow pool, approximately 6 metres deep. The water in this pool has a pH level of 3.5 and was used for bathing by our 'Tohunga' (high priest). He attributed his powers of foresight to these sulphur waters.

Ink Pots Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 98°C

These pools appear as a dramatic black crack in the ground. This black colour is caused by the sulphides and suspended carbons, forming a graphite-like appearance. The pools are approximately 20 metres deep with an average pH level of 2.0.

Hurutini Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 42°C

This pool was named after our local Māori princess, who tragically took her life, resulting in the area being called Tikitere after her mother found her body. This pool is approximately 15 metres deep with a pH level of 3.5. Its sulphurous waters are used in our sulphur spa.

Hell’s Gate Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 45°C

This large hot pool has no visible inlet and is in constant motion due to rising gases. It was given its name by famous playwright George Bernard Shaw when he visited in the early 1900s. The pool is approximately 25 metres deep with a pH level of 3.2.

Baby Adam Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 68°C

This collection of small pools have a constantly changing level of activity. The name was again given by George Bernard Shaw as the activity reminded him of bouncing his nephew Adam on his knee. The pools are approximately 1 metre deep with a pH level of 6.0.

Sulphur Bath Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 98°C

This pool is very yellow due to its high sulphur content. Despite its name, it is too hot and acidic to bathe in, with a pH of 1.8. Māori used to collect water from this pool to treat skin diseases and bites, as well as dilute it for use as an insecticide.

Inferno Pool Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 60.5°C

The Inferno Pool is made up of several main springs and is a good example of how hot acidic waters can break down solid material, producing geothermal mud. This pool has a pH level of 2.5.

Sodom & Gomorrah Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 100°C+

These pools often have water erupting out of them, up to 2 metres in height. After seeing this, George Bernard Shaw named the pools Sodom and Gomorrah after the sinners in the bible.

The Infants Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

These pools again reminded George Bernard Shaw of the active nature of young children. The activity levels of these pools continually change but are a good example of the nature of this area. Here you can see the dangerously thin crust of the earth, a reminder to stick to the marked footpath.

Spraying Pools Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 88-100°C

These are not pools; they are merely surface water interacting with the intense heat of the ground. It is much like dropping cold water onto a hot frying pan. From a geothermal perspective, it is known as "the frying pan effect." These 'pools' have a pH level of 2.5.

Bush Walk Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

The bush walk takes you through native greenery and geothermal areas. The bush has always been a food source for Māori, as well as medicine, clothing, shelter, and a spiritual link to the land. The flowers in this area are bright and colourful due to the sulphur's fertilising nature.

Kakahi Falls Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 40°C

These are the largest hot waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere. Historically, Māori warriors would bathe here to remove blood and cleanse themselves after battle as the sulphur acts as an antiseptic. The full name of the falls is "Te Mimi O Te Kakahi".

Map of Australia Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 36°C

The outline of this naturally-formed pool imitates that of an Australian map. This pool has a pH level of approximately 3.8.

Crystal Valley Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

This area is covered in deposited sulphur condensed from the geothermal steam. The blackened areas are from spontaneous combustion - this only occurs when deposited sulphur reaches 120⁰C, ignites, and then burns at 380⁰C, causing the silica rocks to melt and flow like lava.

Devil's Cauldron Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 98-100°C

This black mud creates hypnotic circle patterns as steam is released. Our thermal reserve contains three types of geothermal muds - black, grey and white - all with different healing properties. The black mud has been known for its treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Mud Volcano Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

This is the largest example of a mud volcano in any New Zealand geothermal reserve. Mud formations generally only reach 1 metre in height, whereas this mud volcano is approximately 3.2 metres in height and growing. Like a lava-based volcano, the formations create mud lahars and eruptions.

Steaming Cliffs Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 110-120°C

The Steaming Cliffs pool is the hottest in the reserve. Due to boiling activity, erupting water can reach heights of over 3 metres. On each side of the main pool are two others with different coloured water. These were caused by an eruption and are fed from a different underground reservoir than the main pool.

Historic Cooking Pool Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 88°C

Although it smells of sulphur and contains black water, the cooking pool does not taint the food cooked in it. Around the pool is "land coral", made up of a heat-loving bacteria that become coated with silica to produce these formations. This pool has a pH level of 6.2.

Medicine Lake Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Temperature: 40-68°C

The waters and muds of this lake have been used for hundreds of years by Māori to treat many different aches and skin conditions. We wanted to share this experience in a safe environment; therefore, we based the design of our mud baths on the lake and continue to collect mud from here to this day.

Steaming Fumaroles Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

This is a large area of steaming fumaroles that emit sulphuric steam. They can be seen surrounding the Inferno pools and down to the entranceway. As it condenses, the sulphur forms stalactites and stalagmites, which can be seen as fine crystal formations in the entrances to the fumaroles.

Carving House Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Learn the noble art of Whakairo (Māori Carving) under the watchful eye of our carvers and take home a lasting memory of your time at our special place, Tikitere Hell's Gate.

Entrance Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

When starting your journey here, you will pass through the Waharoa - this is the entry into the geothermal reserve - it is carved to represent our ancestral chief, Rangiteaorere, and the Māori god of volcanic activity, Rūaumoko.

Café Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Our café has a range of food and beverages - the perfect place for a bite to eat before or after your journey around the Hell's Gate geothermal reserve.

Click the red dots for more information

Book Now to experience this for yourself.