Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is a living village where tangata whenua (the locals) still reside, as they have for centuries. The villagers show you around and tell you the stories of their way of life and the significance of the steamy bubbling pools, silica terraces and geysers which, although inaccessible from the village, are easily viewed from vantage points (the view of Pohutu is just as good from here as it is from Te Puia, and considerably cheaper).
The village shops sell authentic arts and crafts, and you can learn more about Māori traditions such as flax weaving, carving and ta moko (tattooing). Nearby you can eat tasty, buttery sweetcorn ($2) pulled straight out of the hot mineral pool − the only genuine geothermal hangi in town. Other bigger hangi meal options range from $18.50 to $21 per person.