…or Whakarewarewa… or Whaka is one the most visited thermal areas in Rotorua. It is still a living Maori village in the middle of hot water pools, bubbling mud and mineral springs.
After paying the entrance fee we entered the village through an archway and could join a guided tour (or stroll alone) along the several points of interest.
The first thing we saw, was an area with some hot pools, used by the Maori people as kitchen, bathroom and laundry. This is where the ‘hangi meals’ are cooked on a natural way.
We strolled through the village with some shops and a café and followed the tracks along bubbling mud pools, a hot thermal lake, thermal springs or spurting geysers.
From several lookouts we enjoyed the views over this impressive geothermal scenery.
On the way to the lookout for the geysers we passed the cemetery of ‘Whaka’ with its graves, which are placed above the earth, because it is too hot to do it on a traditional way.
Twice a day (11.15 am and 2 pm) there are performances of Maori dancers and singers, including the 'poi dance'. They were hold in front of the Marae (meeting house) or in the special performance venue.
To be honest: ‘Whaka’ was one of the first thermal areas we ever saw and we were rather impressed, but now having visited more of these reserves we have to admit this place is more or less a little bit too touristy/commercial.
The highlight of our visit here was to see the Maori show, performed as always with plenty of passion.
You get a better view of the Geysers from Te Puia, but there's still plenty of geothermic activity going on here as well.
You have a few choices if you want to check out one of the many thermal reserves in Rotorua. We selected Whatarewarewa, and were not disappointed. You are free to wander on your own, or enjoy the guided tour. The guide was very interesting and informative. A small Maori population still lives at the reserve; bathing and cooking with the thermal waters. You even have the chance to purchase corn on the cob cooked right in the waters. The hightlight is the Pohutu Geyser which erupts several times a day; some eruptions over 60' into the air (great photo ops). Be sure and check out the Maori culture show which is also included in your admission price.
Te Whakarewarewa is the best known thermal reserve and cultural "park". It's also known as Whaka (much easier to pronounce too)
The main attraction is the Pohutu Geyser. It erupts 10-20 times per day but there is no timetable for when it will go off. It is really a site to see. The geyser shoots hot water in the air about 20m. When you sit on the rocks near the geyser they tend to be warm to hot. They said that sitting on these rocks is good for ya and therepeutic!
You should also look for the bubbling mud area. It looks like small volcanoes shooting out mud.
The NZ Maoria Arts and Crafts Institute is located at Whaka. You can see Maoris carving tikis and masks. There is also an art gallery, a replica Maori village, free guided tours and a pretty good gift shop.
Whaka is a big thermal area with beautiful geysers and hot mud pools, it is one of the tourist attractions you shouldn´t miss while travelling in NZ.
At this special place you also find a Maori exhibition that includes a fortified village site and Te Rito weaving house with showings hot to weave and what kind of products the Maoris used to make (or still do?) - things like baskets, mats, clothing... There is also a Maori carving school in the complex - Te Wananga Whakairo Carving School.
The thermal area by itself means lot of walking for you. There are many paths leading around bubbling mud pools or pools with hot or boiling water, there is steam everywhere and typical smell of sulfur.
Prince of Wales and Pohutu are the names of the geysers, the first one is active 90-95% of the day, the bigger one - Pohutu - erupts 10-20times a day whereas it reaches the high of 20-30 m.
Have you ever seen a live Kiwi bird? - there is also a Kiwi bird house in the area - another interesting thing to see...
One of the most unique traits about Rotorua is the thermal activity that is found all around this region. Within the region there are a couple different spots where you can enjoy this directly. Within this Thermal Village you can get a couple great views of the geyser, view some mud pools up close, and also see a maori presentation of singers.
There are also a ton of wood carving shops, as well as New Zealand Maori jewelery.
In the village of Whakarewarewa is a viewing platform for the two geysers of the thermal area.
The most impressive is Pohutu. This geyser will erupt at least every hour and spurts lots of water and steam in the air about 20 metres high. Mostly eruptions do last ten minutes or so. Enough time to take one picture (or more).
The Prince of Wales Feathers geyser is a little bit smaller and always starts spurting water and steam before Pohutu.
If you want to get a sample of Maori cultural experience, it is definitelty better in my opinion, to go for the Te Whakarewarewa Cultural Village rather than the Tamaki Village Life experience.. I've been to both and been to Te Whakarewarewa twice.
In Whakarewarewa, they will have various Maori Village buildings as well as a Maori Warrior welcome before the cultural show.
There is also demonstration of various maori crafts such as basket weaving, green stone carving etc etc. In additional within the compound you can also go for a walk in the thermal fields ie mudpools, steaming pools , geysers.. The picture on my main page of the geyser is taken at Whakarewarewa.
Authentic Maori living village, Pohutu Geyser views, Maori culture, arts and crafts, boiling mud, midday hangi combo, twice daily concert
An interesting visit to a living Maori village...try the corn from the boiling water !
Whakarewarewa (Waka-ray-wa-ray-wa) is a thermal reserve, with it's Maori village and nearby Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. There is a cultural performances held twice daily within the beautiful ancestral house, Wahiao.
Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, Rotorua
It's a Maori village, a cross between an open air museum, a geothermal field and an ordinary village. Among the attractions are Maori cultural performances, naturally steamed Hanga meals, the Pohutu and the Prince of Wales Feathers geysirs, traditional architecture, boiling lakes and mud pools, and, of course, shopping.
Whakarewarewa thermal... (Rotorua)
It's fascinating to watch the ground bubble, and see mud beeing thrown up from the earth. Geysirs blowing boiling-water fountain into the air. It´s just an amazing colorful place. But you better take a strong deodorant with you as everything will smell of solfur
All visitors should go here and be entertained, enlightened, educated, whatever.
Its a great place to visit and so interesting
Walking around you will see small pockets of plopping mud. Rotorua has cashed in on the mineral content of the mud and produced face masks, soaps and other products from the mud.
How do you pronounce this? Well, if you know, you are probably local. This is home of the largest geyser-pohutu. It contains numerous boiling mud pools and hot springs.