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WHAKAREWAREWA is often abbreviated to "Whaka" by locals. Whakarewarewa is the reduced version of "Te Whakarewarewatanga - o - te - Ope - a - Waihiao", meaning "the uprising of the war party at Waihiao". A war party assembled at the geyser area and performed a war dance before going into action.

Whakarewarewa is approximately 3 kilometres from Rotorua, near the banks of the Puarenga river. It is the best known geothermal site in Rotorua, and probably the main place people go to see geysers, hot pools and mud pools.

Whakarewarewa is often visited for its 500 or so hot springs, many of which are encased in what are called "sinter" pools - a porous encrustation of silica or mineral deposit, which seems to take on different hues (but which are generally white or gray). The area boasts the largest geyser in the country, called Pohutu. It erupts about 15 times a day and climbs to around 90 feet in height.

There is a place called Hell's Gate somewhere in the vicinity which has some suitably infernal looking fumaroles, mud pools and sulphur deposits. There are also many walks, picnic areas and swimming areas on and around the reserve.

The Maori Arts and Craft Centre is situated at Whakarewarewa and is definitely worth a visit, not least for the wood carving activities. Near the Centre is a Maori pa (fortified village) that's also worth investigating.

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