For over 200 years, the people of the Maori tribe of Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao have lived near the geothermal activity of Whakarewarewa; but in 1998, they established a charitable trust through which they were able to create a unique, independent tourism experience.
Called the Living Thermal Village, Whakarewarewa is a visitor experience similar to Amish country in that you get to experience a way of life that has remained relatively unchanged since the early 1800s. Through cultural tours, villagers welcome visitors into their homes and demonstrate Maori heritage and traditions in the best way possible - by living it. You'll walk through the village with a guide and participate in communal activities. Since the residents live and work in the attraction, guests may take part in anything from a wedding to a funeral to ceremonial tribal gatherings. Ceremony and cultural performances occur daily, including the famous hangi feast.
Even though we had a lot of rain on that day, the bus driver /guide was terrific and we were impressed by his knowledge. I highly recommend the tour no matter what the weather is. Catherine from New York
On reconfirming this I was advised the Full Day Tour was no longer available but we still had the morning tour instead. We turned out to be the only people on it so had our very own personal tour! Absolutely worth doing as so much is packed in that we would not have had time to do otherwise. Our driver/guide was lovely and extremely knowledgeable. A definitely must when in Rotorua.
Note from Viator: This review was based on a prior itinerary. The current itinerary offers the same great experience.
Review by Anonymous, May 2010
Doing what: Discover Rotorua Morning City Tour
Note from Viator: This review is from David Whitley, who wrote about his Rotorua tour experience over on the Viator Blog.
Part of what makes Whakarewarewa Village unique is in the way the village has utilized the surrounding geothermal resources. Completely sustainable for over 200 years, the Whakarewarewa way of life makes use of springs and vents for activities such as cooking and the natural mineral springs for communal bathing.
Guided tours are available on the hour from 9am to 4pm. The daily cultural shows begin at 12:15pm and 2pm, and there is also a traditional geothermal hangi meal served from 12-2pm. Bookings recommended.