The Buried Village


Maori Culture Museums and Galleries Historical and Heritage Attractions For Kids Indoor Activities Culture & History Tours

For more insight into the history of the village, book a guided tour that's included in the admission price.

Just a short drive from central Rotorua, The Buried Village is the most visited archaeological site in New Zealand and one of country's most iconic tourist attractions.

On a very cold night in June 1886 the tiny settlement of Te Wairoa was buried under boiling mud and the world famous 'Pink and White Terraces' were lost forever when Tarawera erupted.

The village has been uncovered and visitors can see how Maori and early settlers lived their lives together. They can also see what the mud destroyed and yet so wonderfully preserved.

Before visiting the site itself, visitors should head to the museum which houses artefacts that have been excavated from the site over the years. The site itself is spread over 12 acres and features a number of areas that have been excavated including one of the original houses and the Rotomahana Hotel.

As well as walking through the archaeological site, visitors can also stroll through native bush and hike along a trail to the beautiful Wairere Falls, which fall 30 metres over the cliff.

While the attraction is suitable for all of the family, kids will enjoy the archaeological treasure hunt and the Children's Discovery Room, an interactive discovery experience with a hands-on archaeological dig. It's also an opportunity to listen to stories read by children living in Te Wairoa from around the 1860's.

Visitors who want to know more about the village can listen to an introductory talk with a knowledgeable guide who will explain the history and retell stories handed down through generations. The 40 minute tour is included in the admission price and runs three times a day.

Those who prefer to go at their own pace, can borrow one of the attraction's electronic devices with an audiovisual tour loaded or, self-guide with the aid of a map and informative signage throughout the park.

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa is a fascinating and unique experience in Rotorua. Facilities include a gift shop and teahouse.

Opening Hours:

The village is open every day at 9.00am except Christmas Day. Last entry times vary from 4.30pm in winter and 5.00pm in summer.

October to February: 9.00am - 5.00pm (Last Entry)

March to September: 9.00am - 4.30pm (Last entry)


  • Moderately Priced

Best For Whom

  • Mature Travellers
  • Families With Children
  • All Ages

Best For What

  • Off The Beaten Path
  • Cultural Experience


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