63. Welcome to Te Puia's wonderland
Māori culture can – and should – be experienced in all forms across the country: from the historical to the geothermal and, in some cases literally carved into the storied landscape: here is No. 63 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
At the edge of Rotorua, the city most synonymous with the otherworldly drama and beauty of New Zealand’s geothermal history, Te Puia is a wonderland of steaming hot springs, bubbling mud pools, ethereal silica formations and the southern hemisphere’s largest active geyser, Pōhutu Geyser. Spread across 70 hectares within the historic Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, a day pass allows visitors to explore the landscape in all its seething glory, while also appreciating the history and traditions of the custodians of the land, gaining a glimpse into how Māori people lived before the arrival of European settlers, witnessing the skill of traditional carvers and weavers, getting up close with the country’s feathered national treasure, the kiwi, and hearing about Te Puia’s rich history on a guided tour.