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If one was the guess that the largest hot spring in the world was in Yellowstone, it would be a good guess but would still be wrong. The largest hot spring in the world is the Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand, in the heart of New Zealand's stunning hydrothermal and volcanic landscapes. Close to Frying Pan Lake is also New Zealand's famed Tongariro Crossing - one of the most famous volcanic hikes in the world.

The geyser and hot spring wonderland of the world is Yellowstone (it is home to over half of all the world's geysers). But still, there are many stunning geothermal attractions in New Zealand that leave visitors spellbound. New Zealand is a country of contrasts where two hours of driving land visitors in completely different landscapes and settings.


Frying Pan Lake - The Largest Hot Spring In The World

The Frying Pan Lake (also called Waimangu Cauldron) is located in the Echo Crater of New Zealand's Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley. It is part of a young formation, with the Echo Crater only having been formed from the Mount Tarawera eruption in 1886. The current size of the crater and lake was formed during a later 1917 eruption.

  • Most Recent Eruption: 1973

The hot spring lake has a temperature of around 50–60 °C (122–140 °F), and it covers around 38,000 square meters. The lake is quite shallow, only being around 5.5 meters (although its vents can reach 18.3 meters).

  • Largest: The Largest Hot Spring In The World By Area
  • Size: 38,000 Sq Meters
  • Temperature: 50–60 °C (122–140 °F)
  • Location: In A Cauldron Of The North Island's Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The water of the lake is normally steaming and appears to boil. That is due to the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gas bubbling to the surface.

Close to the Frying Pan Lake is the location of the former Waimangu Geyser. The last time this geyser was seen erupting was over 100 years ago, in 1900. It used to erupt up to 1,500 feet or 460 meters into the air.

Related: What To Know Of Exploring New Zealand's Famed Southern Alps

Visiting The Frying Pan Lake

The Frying Pan Lake is one of the first notable attractions that visitors can see while strolling along the Waimangu walking track. The Waimangu walking track is wheelchair friendly, so the Frying Pan Lake is accessible.

  • Access: By The Waimangu Walking Track
  • Wheelchairs: The Track (Trail) Is Accessible
  • Swimming: Too Hot For Swimming

If one goes there, just admire it and take pictures; the water is far too hot to swim safely in.

The Frying Pan Lake is far from the only hydrothermal and volcanic attraction in this area. It is only the start of a stunning geothermal safari through the valley towards Lake Rotomahana.

Related: New Zealand Is Expensive: How To Discover It On a Budget

Self-Guided & Guided Tours Of The Waimangu Volcanic Valley

If one would like to visit Frying Pan Lake, one should visit the many other wonders of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley at the same time. Waimangu offers a selection of self-guided tours. The minimum distance walked is 1.5 km (1 Mile) and a maximum of 4 km (2.5 miles) for the full walk.

One can choose between their Self-Guided Walk Only and their Full Waimangu Experience. On the tours, visitors will see the Inferno Crater, the Frying Pan Lake, and many geothermal attractions.

Self-Guided Walk Only:

The Self-Guided Walk Only includes complimentary shuttles between stops and lasts for a minimum of one hour. Hiking is easy and mainly downhill. There is a shuttle bus that returns guests at the end of the hike.

  • Duration: 1 Hour


  • Adults: From $44.00 NZD ($27.50 USD)
  • Children: $15.00 NZD ($10.00 USD) (Aged 6 to 15 Years Old)

Full Waimangu Experience:

The Full Waimangu Experience combines the self-guided walk with a boat cruise so that visitors can see the best of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Some notable geothermal landscapes are only accessible by boat.

If one would like this option, then plan ahead and book a place on the boat as spaces are limited.

  • Duration: 3.5 Hours


  • Adults: $89 NZD ($55.50 USD)
  • Children: $30.00 NZD ($20.00 USD) (Aged 6 to 15 Years Old)

The package includes an onsite shuttle bus, a guided sheet and map, and a boat ride. English-speaking guides are also available for group tours of 10 or more people. For groups of less than ten passengers - call for the guide rates.