Where stories of the tarawera eruption come to life.
Violent and unexpected, the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera during the early hours of June 10, 1886 was one of New Zealand’s greatest natural disasters.
For more than four terrifying hours, rocks, ash and mud bombarded the peaceful village of Te Wairoa. As well as ending more than 150 lives and many livelihoods, the eruption destroyed the eight wonder of the world, the Pink and White Terraces, and buried the staging post for travellers to the terraces, Te Wairoa Village, under two metres of thick volcanic material. In the gloom of the day the wreckage of the hotels and houses, and the burial of 8000 square kilometres of the countryside brought awe and dismay to survivors and rescuers.
A place of exceptional beauty has been created around the fascinating remains of a settlement buried by the eruption.
Our museum, sets of the scene
Encounter first-hand how the Tarawera eruption drastically changed the land and lives of the people of Te Wairoa.
Take the waterfall trail if you dare
Be thrilled by the descent to the base of 30 m Wairere Falls, and stand in the spray as it thunders to thr valley below. Alternatively a flat walk is available.
Explore the archeological site of Te Wairoa
The village, although now peaceful and green, still reveals the devastation of the eruption. Walk amongst and enter the very sites that once housed the people of Te Wairoa. The people are gone but the spirit remains.
Vi’s teahouse and gift store est. 1931
After you walk, relax and enjoy delicious home baking, excellent teas and coffee in Vi’s Teahouse. Then browse the range of gifts in our giftstore.
Guided tours, add so much more to your visit
For a truly unique insight into the stories of the area, take one of our optional guided tours. Tours leave at regular times throughout the day. Electronic tour devices and guide maps are available for those who prefer to self-guide.
Fun for the whole family
There is a plenty for children to see and do around the village. They can explore the sites with Smithy’s guide map, dig in the discovery room, and enjoy time in the playground.
“For over 80 years my family has restored, preserved and showcased Te Wairoa, the Buried Village. The team and I look forward to sharing the experience with you”. Pam McGrat, 3rd generation Smith family member.