Wander the streets of this living village, where the local Tūhourangi/Ngāti Wāhiao people have resided for centuries, with its homes, stores, cafes and lookouts over the Pōhutu geyser in neighbouring Te Puia. Villagers lead the tours (departing hourly from 9am to 4pm) and tell stories of their way of life amid the steamy bubbling pools, silica terraces and geysers.
Admission also includes a half-hour cultural performance (daily at 11.15am and 2pm, with an additional show at 12.30pm from November to April) and self-guided walks out as far as Lake Kanapanapa/Green Lake (a 40- to 50-minute loop). The village shops sell authentic arts and crafts, and you can learn more about Māori traditions such as flax weaving, carving and tā moko (tattooing). Nearby you can eat tasty, buttery sweetcorn ($2) pulled straight out of the hot mineral pool – the only genuine geothermal hāngi meal in town.