Kerosene Creek: How to Find the Natural Hot Springs of Rotorua

Kerosene Creek Rotorua

The hot thermal springs of Rotorua New Zealand are known worldwide, but not all of them you can actually go swimming in! If you’re looking to have a soak in some thermal water then head just outside of town to Kerosene Creek. We’ve swam in so many rivers over the years, and this was actually our first hot thermal experience. Join us as we take you to Kerosene Creek, and one of the best natural hot springs near Rotorua. 

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How to Get to Kerosene Creek Rotorua

Located a quick 30 minute drive from the town center is our favorite natural hot springs near Rotorua. Set between Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve, Wai-O-Tapu, and Lady Knox Geyser, this entire area is literally bubbling with thermal activity.

Set off of the Thermal Explorer route which cuts diagonal across almost the entire north island of New Zealand is the unpaved Old Waiotapu Road. There is a small parking lot then it’s a quick walk to see the Kerosene Creek Rotorua. 

Kerosene Creek Information

Swimming in the Hot Springs in Rotorua

We’ve soaked in countless hot thermal pools while traveling in Europe with the most recent being the Turkish baths of Eger Hungary. Yet, before Kerosene Creek Rotorua it’s almost always been in the controlled setting of a spa.

For that reason, we loved swimming in these natural hot springs near Rotorua! Once you get your first dip into the thermal river it’ll be hard to get out. Swimming in the Rotorua hot springs is especially nice on a chilly fall day when the weather is a little colder.

Natural Hot Springs near Rotorua

Making Your Way Up Kerosene Creek

From the main parking lot you can work your way up the river, and into more hot springs in Rotorua. Exploring the different parts of Kerosene Creek was one of our favorite parts of visiting this area.

We went first thing in the morning so we had it all to ourselves. However, even if there are other people there you should have no problem finding your own part of Kerosene Creek to enjoy. 

Swimming in Rotorua

6 Tips For Visiting Kerosene Creek Near Rotorua

1. Arrive early to experience swimming in Rotorua with less people.

2. Explore the entire stretch of Kerosene Creek for more swimming holes and take in all their natural beauty. 

3. Don’t soak too long! The mineral properties of Kerosene Creek are great, but only in small doses.

4. Bring a change of clothes. On a cold day you’ll want to get out of those wet swimsuits after swimming in Rotorua. 

5. Make sure to watch your belongs and leave nothing valuable in your car. 

6. Don’t under any circumstances put your head underwater. Brain-eating Amoeba live in Kerosene Creek! While it’s extremely rare, if you’re infected it can lead to death. 

Natural Hot Springs in Rotorua

Driving the Geothermal Highway 

The Geothermal Highway of New Zealand’s north island is over 400 kilometers of amazing lakes, rivers, hot springs, geysers, and volcanos. Kerosene Creek Rotorua is just part of this route, and you’ll find many more amazing spots along the way.

From Aukland to Napier, the natural wonders of New Zealand can be seen in all their glory. So whether you only have a few days or weeks, make sure to explore as much of the Geothermal Highway as possible!

Geothermal Highway

Have any questions on Kerosene Creek or want to share your own experience swimming in Rotorua? Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where To Stay In Rotorua New Zealand

Ultra Luxury – Solitaire Lodge – Just a 20 minute drive from Rotorua you’ll find the beautiful 5 star Solitaire Lodge property. Set on a private peninsula on the shores of Lake Tarawera, the luxury resort has spacious rooms with views over the water. It even features its own private helipad so you can take flights over the lake! 

Fun Vacation – Quest Rotorua Central Apartment Hotel – As the name suggests, this apartment style hotel has a prime location in Rotorua. It will be nice to have a kitchen and lounge area before you hit the town, and all the great thermal spas! 

Hostel LifeRock Solid Backpackers Rotorua –  Rock Solid hostel is right in the city center and a short distance to all the hot springs in Rotorua. You can pick from dorms and family rooms! 

For more places to stay near Kerosene Creek in Rotorua you can explore the latest prices here!


New Zealand Travel Planning 

Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.

 Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.

 Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as and Agoda. Also,  Hostelworld should be your go to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials


North Island New Zealand

Travel Tips & Guides:  10 Helpful NZ Travel TipsNorth Island ItinerarySouth Island Itinerary25 Beautiful BeachesWellington to Picton Ferry15 Freedom Camping Tips27 Delicious Food & Drinks

Auckland & Northland: Piha Beach & Kitekite FallsCape Reinga LighthouseRussellMangonuiMount EdenDevonport Day TripWaiheke Island Guide9 Best Waiheke Wineries

Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to DoMount Tauhara HikeBest Street ArtTaranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk14 Tongariro Crossing Tips 

New Plymouth: 10 Fun Things to DoDawson FallsTe Rewa Rewa BridgeParitutu Rock HikeEgmont National Park

Wellington: 10 Fun Things to DoMount Victoria HikeBest BreweriesCable Car & Botanical Gardens

Bay of Plenty:  TairuaHot Water BeachCathedral Cove Walk8 Maunganui Things Not to MissMount Maunganui HikeEast Cape Road TripHow to Find Tua Tua Clams 

Rotorua & Raglan: Redwoods Treewalk8 Raglan Things to DoBridal Veil Falls

Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides

North Island New Zealand

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