Welcome to the Buried Village, Rotorua. Violent and unexpected, the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera was New Zealand's greatest natural disaster. It destroyed the eighth wonder of the world - the magnificent Pink and White Terraces. For more than four terrifying hours, rocks, ash and mud bombarded the peaceful village of Te Wairoa. The fiery glow in the night sky, and the roar of the explosions were seen and heard as far away as Auckland.|
Warnings of the disaster came in the form of earthquakes, increased thermal activity, lake level changes, and the appearance of a phantom war canoe.
In the gloom of the day, the wreckage of the hotels and houses, and the burial of 5000 miles of scenic countryside brought awe and dismany to rescuers. The eruption buried three villages and claimed the lives of over 150 people, and the only village to be excavated has been Te Wairoa. Te Wairoa comprised about 250 inhabitants living in nearly 70 houses.
Now nearly 120 years on, the excavated village offers a fascinating and first hand insight into the devastation, chaos and mayhem that transpired on the night Mount Tarawera erupted.
The Buried Village is only 15 minutes from Rotorua, on the district's most scenic drive, and is open from 9am each day. Allow at least one and a half hours to visit this incredible place!
Museum of Te Wairoa
Visitors can take an emotional journey through the museum which tells the fascinating story of Te Wairoa village, the voyages to the Pink and White Terraces and the eruption of Mount Tarawera.
See artifacts and remnants recovered from the village and experience a night in the Rotomahana Hotel with one of the guests at the time of the volcanic eruption.
Also included in the museum are displays on archaeology and vulcanology, and a children's discovery room.
Excavated Archaeological Sites
View this historic area, where Maori whare and Settler buildings have been excavated to their original floor level. Excavations of building sites began in 1931 and included the schoolhouse, flour mill, Rotomahana Hotel, blacksmiths workshop, stone store and several smaller homes.
Amongst the excavated sites you will find a special peacefulness. The 12 acre park-like setting filled with tall trees, meadows, native birds, wildlife, peace and tranquility.
Wander the scenic pathways that link the sites, enjoy pristine native bush, view the sensational wilderness above the Wairere Falls looking out over remote volcanic scenery and catch a glimpse of the wild rainbow trout that inhibit the Te Wairoa stream.
Be thrilled by the hike to stand in the spray of the magnificent Te Wairere Falls which plunge 30 metres to the bush-clad valley below.
Optional Guided Tours are complimentary with general admissions and leave at various times during the day. Allow 30 minutes. Guide sheets are also available for self guiding. Exclusive guided tours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more by arrangement.
Te Wairoa Tearooms
Visitors can relax and enjoy the best in home style cooking. Devonshire teas and scones are our specialty, excellent coffee and delicious cakes, quiches, paninis and fresh salads.
There is seating inside for 45 people, covered terrace area for 30 people and the outside tea garden area seats 30. A children's playground is adjacent to the tea garden.
The park set in pristine native bush provides a tranquil setting for picnics.