I’d heard about Kerosene Creek and it had been on my list of things to do in Rotorua for so long now. There always seemed to be a reason not to go though – it was too far out of town, too hot, too cold, there were reports of thieves around. You know – a usual kind of procrastinators list!
Now that I have been once I can tell you for sure that this is on my EVERY TIME I visit Rotorua list and none of the above could persuade me not to go. But hey, as long as those excuses exist it will stay relatively unspoilt.
For me Kerosene Creek was one of those places that was just so incredible that it didn’t feel like it could be real. There was something just so magical about floating through a warm creek, waterfall crashing behind you with steam rising through the native trees around you.
It was like the world didn’t exist and for those moments it actually didn’t.
The morning we went there were only 7 cars despite it being a lovely October school holiday day but I do hear that some days it gets quite busy. The awesome thing is that it’s really big so there’s plenty of room for everyone and if you are lucky like us you’ll be surrounded by lovely, friendly people.
You will have heard me talk a lot about entrances setting the scene for a place and Kerosene Creek is no exception. The turnoff is barely signposted and the road drops (literally) from sealed to gravel within metres of turning off. You’re going to want to take that first drop slow! In fact you are going to want to take the whole road slow. There are giant potholes that are impossible to avoid (although we did have a giggle at the guy in the Audi sports car trying to pick his way through them).
Our kids were cracking up in the back seat as we bounced our way down the road past steaming lakes. Everything about it spoke to something that was hidden, rugged and absolutely worth getting to.
Once you are there you’ll find a toilet. When we went a bird had also moved in to the loo which made it less attractive to the kids. We’d read before we came that it could be a magnet for thieves (which the many signs attest to) so we made sure we didn’t bring anything valuable along with us.
From the carpark its an easy walk down to the first pool and waterfall. Its a bit of a clamber to get in but nothing too arduous.
There were a group of people there and we were chatting to them in the water and they mentioned that you could go further. Of which I needed absolutely no convincing!
The second waterfall and creek is even more amazing as it is nestled deeper into the bush. It’s a bit more of a clamber down the rocks to get in the pool but once there you will be rewarded with a waterfall and a creek to go exploring in.
Now it’s a good time to say that the kids didn’t share my utter amazement at Kerosene Creek. They liked it but I guess they’ve been luckier than me and exposed to more amazing things than I ever was to expect that it is perfectly normal to be able to swim through a hot water creek like this. Me though, like a kid at Christmas!! And definitely taking James back next time just the two of us.
Normal advice prevails – don’t put your head under the water in mineral water, take off any jewellery you don’t want to discolour, don’t bring valuables and don’t go alone – but don’t let any of that put you off.
I think about the neighbouring pink and white terraces and think about how temporary places like this can be as nature has it’s way and changes the landscape so enjoy it while it is there. Think about how incredibly lucky we are to be able to visit somewhere like this (for free no less) and treat it with the respect it deserves.
You’ll find Kerosene Creek about 30 minutes out of Rotorua on Old Waiotapu Rd (off SH5).