We decided to visit the more authentic Living Thermal Village of Whakarewarewa on the outskirts of Rotorua rather than the larger government run Te Puia centre. This is a populated village of Maori locals whose ancestors have lived there for 700 years. We were taken around the village by a local guide who showed us pools of boiling water all around the village, which is utilised for bathing, cooking and heating. There are bubbling pools of water of various size and up to 17m deep as well as steam vents and also boiling mud pools, but apart from the clouds of steam everywhere, there is also an all-pervading stench of sulphur. People say that you get used to the smell…but personally, I’m not so sure of that! Look out in the photos below for the one of the two old geysers LOL. We were treated to a cultural show of Maori music and dance including the Hakka, (famously performed before rugby matches whenever the magnificent All Black play) which is designed to intimidate enemies. The performers invited men from the audience to learn how to perform the Hakka…and very good they were too!

After lunch we went in the outdoor swimming pool of the motel where the water was as warm as bath water….much to Michael’s delight.

Later in the afternoon we visited a series of nearby lakes, where in 1886 an earthquake buried an entire village and altered the local landscape for ever. Once again the clouds started to gather, and soon we had an enormous downpour including for a short while large hailstones. No wonder New Zealand is so green!!