Lake Rotomahana – Waimangu, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

Lake Rotomahana

The once and future home of New Zealand's famed Pink and White Terraces. 


In the Victorian era, Lake Rotomahana was renowned around the world for its spectacular “Eighth Wonder of the World” – the Pink and White Travertine Terraces which cascaded down to the waters.

Long thought lost in the disastrous volcanic explosion of Mount Tarawera in 1886, surviving fragments of the terraces were discovered 200 feet below the lake’s surface by researchers in 2011.

The massive destruction that came in the wake of the Tarawera eruption not only destroyed the beloved terraces, it killed more than one hundred people, leveled villages, and forever altered the landscape of the Rotorua area. The area is now known as Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley. This new volcanic caldera is home to steaming fumeroles, boiling mud, and one of the world’s largest hot springs.

Although temporarily drained by the eruption, Lake Rotomahana came back 20 times its original size and now covers 2,000 acres.

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