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Craters of the Moon geothermal walk is located at the end of Karapiti Road, 1.7km from Wairakei Drive
The geothermal walk is open every day from 8.30am (except Christmas Day)
Summer hours: 1 October - 31 March - last entry 5pm, gates close at 6pm
Winter hours: 1 April – 30 September - last entry 4pm, gates close at 5pm
Wairakei’s Craters of the Moon geothermal area is part of the largest geothermal field in New Zealand. It lies within the Taupō Volcanic Zone. A 45-minute walk traverses the main pathway around this cratered valley. Explore interesting geothermal features often wreathed in clouds of steam from the heat just beneath your feet.
The walking surface is on gravel with sections of wooden boardwalk. It is suitable for most people including family groups. The track to the upper lookout takes an additional 15 - 20 minutes and includes a number of steps. The views over the site and the area make this side trip well worthwhile.
The Craters of the Moon geothermal walk is run by a charitable trust. A small entrance fee helps maintain the boardwalks, grounds and other facilities at this low key geothermal attraction. The area is Crown Land and an annual licence fee is paid to Land Information to New Zealand (LINZ). This not-for profit organisation works hard to run a low cost operation. In 2012, when the Kiosk (reception/shop) was upgraded a decision was made to utilise the geothermal resource close at hand for underfloor heating and solar power was installed (8kW solar photovoltaic array with 83kW battery bank storage). Since 2013, Craters of the Moon has become one of only a handful of New Zealand tourism ventures to operate off-grid.
The Craters of the Moon Charitable Trust (est. 1991) donates surplus funds annually to local charities with an emphasis on conservation and the environment. For instance, the COMT assists students from Taupo district colleges through its annual Hussey-Messenger scholarships for those studying biology and environmental sciences. For many years, the trust has also partnered with local conservation group Project Tongariro assisting with its intern programme. Each summer, 2 or 3 students from New Zealand universities get the opportunity to work in conservation in and around Tongariro National Park.
For more information about the Craters of the Moon geothermal walk go to www.cratersofthemoon.co.nz or phone 0276 564 684.