One of New Zealand’s most famous geothermal attractions, the dramatic Wairakei Terraces have become an iconic postcard image – a magnificent expanse of silica terraces, filled with geothermal water. The much-photographed terraces are a man-made recreation of the original natural terraces, made up of a series of hot pools, geysers and waterfalls, glistening blue and green beneath a veil of steam and separated by ridges of white and pink silica rock. As well as taking in the views, visitors can bath in the mineral-enriched baths and healing thermal pools, while enjoying massage, natural mud-wraps and spa treatments.
It’s not just the otherworldly terrain that draws in tourists – the area is also a sacred land of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori tribes and visiting is as much a cultural experience as it is a natural wonder. The Maori have been using the mud and silica waters found in the geothermal area for good health and healing over hundreds of years and the terraces are now home to a recreated tradition Maori village. One of the most popular ways to visit is by enjoying a Maori Cultural Experience where you’ll get a chance to learn about the Maori’s deep connection to the land, while discovering some their unique traditions at a hangi (barbecue).