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On my first NZ trips Te Puia and Whakarewarewa at the city limits of Rotorua were still one attraction for which you had to pay one entry fee. At the end of the 1990s there was an argument and the geothermal site was divided, even "Whaka" itself, and since 1998 you have two tourist attractions side by side. So it is up to you to make a choice as nearly the same things are offered, geothermal wonders and Maori culture.
Although we have been there with nearly no other tourists around it can happen that the thermal reserves are totally overcrowded with busloads of tourists. If you do not mind this and have limited time it still is a good place for getting an impression. However, the geothermally much more spectacular and colourful places are Waiotapu and Orakei Korako.
Whakarewarewa (the wh is pronounced as f) is only a third of its original size and features bubbling mud holes, hot pools, steaming and sulphor stinking flats, as well as Maori carvings, a meeting house and stage where you can twice daily enjoy a culture show. It is now known as The Thermal Village which really has kept its original village feeling. You can explore the place on your own or join a guided tour, and I clearly prefer it to Te Puia - and it is cheaper ;-)
However, the main attraction of "Whaka", the very active Pohutu geyser, is now on the other side of the fence and belongs to Te Puia. But it can still be seen from the "Whaka" area, and it erupts several times a day and does not need to be fed by soap to erupt like the famous Lady Knox Geyser at Waiotapu.
Te Puia did not only get Pohutu but also the other two thirds of the original Whakarewarewa. Officially it is The New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. You can watch Maori artists carve and wave houses, canoes, weapons, jewellery and clothes and also buy the very expensive products. They also have a Kiwi House with two or so kiwis, and offer guided tours and cultural perfomances with song and dance, including a hangi which is the traditional Maori meal from the earth oven.
Updated Feb 6, 2007
Whakarewarewa - The Thermal Village
Open 8.30am-5pm, 12 guided tours from 9am, Maori shows 11.15am and 2pm, admission $23/children 11.50 (includes all this).
Hangi (meals) 12noon-2.30pm, $50/26.50; hangi taster only $15, full hangi $30; interactive package (you prepare your hangi, make a food basket from flax etc.) $60/39.
Whakarewarewa Thermal Village
9a Tukiterangi Street
Whakarewarewa Village, Rotorua
Freephone (0800) 924 426, Tel. (07) 349 3463
Open 8am-6pm (in summer), guided tours hourly 9am-4pm, concert at 12.15pm and 3.15pm, admission NZ$28/children 14 includes all this.
Song, dance and feast 6.15pm (lasts 3 hrs) - NZ$85/50.
Combo of Admission and evening show $101/57.50.
Hemo Road, Rotorua
Tel. (07) 348 9047
Book online or by Fax (07) 348 9045
Written Feb 6, 2007
… is simply: blub, blub, blub.
Everywhere in thermal areas in and around Rotorua we found pools of mud.
It is very fascinating to look to the ever lasting bubbling and to hear these ever lasting ‘mud language’.
Written Jun 3, 2005
Located within the Te Wairoa Buried Village complex is one of the nicest falls we saw on our trip to the North Island, and it was Wairere Falls.
This set of falls is started by a small creek, but has quite a drop of about 30 meters, one in which a ten to fifteen minute walk is required from the museum that holds the information at Te Wairoa. Also, you will have to take a fairly steep walk back up the hill to the village, so be prepared for some heaving breaths.
I guess you could call that a breath taking waterfall then!
Written Aug 6, 2005
Address: Tarawera Road, RD 5
Phone: +64-7 362 8287
If you are in Rotorua Easter Sunday there is a performance at night called Jambalaya. There are performers from all over the world (many from Brazil). There is lots of drumming and dancing. The performers wear cool costumes and some even juggle fire.
We happened to find out about the parade when we were walking back to our hotel. It was really worth watching. The whole procession took about 30 minutes.
The parade took place at night and started near the water on Tutanekai Street.
Written Aug 17, 2006
Rotorua hizo un gran esfuerzo para reconstruir su industria del turismo después de la erupción del volcán Tarawera y por eso construyeron esta Casa de Baños de estilo Tudor aprovechando las aguas minerales y termales que existen en la zona . Tuvo su época gloriosa y también fue centro de recuperación para los soldados que estuvieron en la Primera Guerra Mundial , convirtiéndose actualmente en un museo de Arte e Historia en el que se pueden ver las antiguas instalaciones del balneario , recuerdos del Batallón Maorí y la galeria de los Arawa , tribu Maorí que vivió en esta zona
Lo mejor es dar un paseo por el parque , ver el edificio y si puedes únete a las visitas guiadas que las hace una señora genial
Rotorua dids a great effort to rebuild its tourism industry after the eruption of Mount Tarawera and therefore they built the Bathhouse that is a Tudor-style building and they took advantage of the mineral and thermal waters that exist in the area. It had glory days and it was also used as recovery centre for soldiers who served in World War I, becoming now in a Museum of Art and History , in which one can see the ancient spa facilities, memories of the Maori Battalion and a gallery of the Arawa , Maori tribe who lived in this area
The best is to take a walk in the park, see the building and if you can try to join a guided tour that is made by a great lady
Written Jan 28, 2010
As part of the Maori hangi and concert, we were given the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Realm of Tane. At the time, I wasn't really sure what I was signing up for. It turned out to be a seperate performance that we attended earlier in the day. An interactive story in which a grandmother is passing down the culture/stories of her childhood to her grandaughter. Part guided tour, character theater, and story telling. My friend and I were the only one in attendance which seemed a little odd at first, but the cast did a great job of performing, and it was very touching. We really felt like we had attended something special as we lef the theater.
Updated Mar 24, 2007
Address: 1220 Hinemaru St
The audience was from all parts of the world: New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and China. They sheered a lamb in front of everybody, giving each audience member a small piece of sheered wool Next, they asked for volunteers for the next thing. The Lamberts, especially Jonathan, volunteered me to ride a bull (without horns, of course). After the show, Jonathan and I rode the bull together. For folks wondering how I got that piece of wool back to the United States: I stuck it in my shoes.
Updated Feb 21, 2003
Because of the volcanic activity, geothermal springs are all over the area. The water, whether it comes from the taps or in the swimming pool, has a sulfuric odour. Native Maoris used the springs for cooking.
Updated Feb 23, 2004
Visit the Orchid Gardens to see the Water garden show, fountains dancing and playing to music. Walk through the butterfly enclosure and view the beautiful display of rare orchids which are set in two large enclosures in naturally landscaped surroundings.
Updated Feb 27, 2006
Address: 1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua
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