Volcanic Activity Centre
Turangi’s Volcanic Activity Centre is an educational facility filled with stories and experiences dedicated to the history and science of New Zealand’s volcanic landscapes. Learn about the Taupo region’s geothermal and volcanic activity—from the supervolcano that created Lake Taupo to the still-active Mt. Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.
Since its inception in 1997, the Volcanic Activity Centre has been an exciting one-stop shop for schoolchildren, families, and visitors who want to learn more about volcanic and seismic activity in the Taupo region and the rest of New Zealand. Wall displays, film reels, and interactive exhibits fill the center’s home base in Turangi, offering plenty for people interested in geology while also providing a fascinating, hands-on introduction to volcanology and geothermal activity for the young and inexperienced.
The center’s Film Theatre offers volcano and earthquake footage, including snippets of the 1995 and 1996 Ruapehu eruptions, and the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Volcanic Activity Centre is ideal for geology and volcanology fans.
Admission is discounted for seniors, students, and children 5 to 15 years old; kids under 5 are free.
The center is attached to the Turangi i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, a great place to get more information on the area.
The center is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Volcanic Activity Centre is on Ngawaka Place in Turangi, a short drive south of Taupo; follow State Highway 1 south, turn right at Pihanga Road, and follow the signs to the information center. From Tongariro National Park, follow State Highway 47 north to Turangi. You can also catch a bus from many major New Zealand towns; InterCity buses to Turangi stop outside the i-SITE center.
When to Get There
The center is open daily from 9am until 4pm, including public holidays. Drop in early to get the space to yourself—tourists traveling through are more likely to visit in the middle of the day.
Experience Science Firsthand at the Volcanic Activity Centre
Science comes alive at the Volcanic Activity Centre. You can safely experience a magnitude 6.3 earthquake (similar to the 2011 Christchurch quake) in the Centre’s Earthquake Simulator, watch a simulated geyser erupt, and look through a microscope that shows you the minute differences between various types of rock. There’s even a live seismograph, monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes across New Zealand in real time.