Gallery - Te Puia Thermal Park

These are all taken from a wander around Te Puia Thermal Park. This is located on the southern edge of Rotorua and, thanks to the geyser Pohutu, very hard to miss. It is definitely designed as something of a tourist trap and as a result is pricey to visit ($47 an adult when I went). I got a little lucky in that the friend I was with (thanks again Mark!) had a frequent visitor pass that took the price down considerably. The entrance area is part shop (with the usual collectable knick-knacks), marae and educational centre. A Maori carving workshop is present on site as well as a standing example of an early Maori village.

The highlight of the park is definitely Pohutu who puts on a grand display. It can jet as high as 25m into the air and cycles between highly active and a little subdued during the day. There is a field of mud pools but I understand the Wai-o-tapu mud-pools are the better field. It is a fairly gentle stroll round the whole park and it takes the better part of two hours to do it properly - well being slowed down to take photographs probably expanded that a bit.

All in all it is an interesting park primarily for the geyser, given the price I'd still recommend travelling the entire park. It seems crazy to not see all the sights. Over all though the whole park gave me a bit too much of the glitzy tourist experience which tends to present an overly sanitised view.

Philip R. Banks
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