Waiotapu is Maori for "sacred waters". This area is about 30 minutes
south of Rotorua. It features the spectacular Champagne pools, a
series of enormous hot pools that are a rich mixture of
gold, yellow and orange. The colours are caused by mineral salts in
the water. The pools occupy a crater that formed as a result of a
volcanic explosion 900 years ago.
If you follow the Champagne pools down some distance you'll find the water
runs over a waterfall that is rather spectacular looking. Multicoloured
mineral and silicate deposits give the waterfall an other-worldly appearance.
There is also the Lady Knox geyser that fires out a plume of steaming water
each morning at around 10:00 am. Some recent visitors to the sight say that
a guide who was showing them around made the Lady Knox geyser erupt by
sticking soap down the blow-hole. Apparently this causes the geyser to
erupt a few minutes later, and this is done each morning at around
10:00 am. The guide said that some local Maori accidentally discovered
this trick some years ago while bathing in the area.