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Te Puia encompasses the Geothermal Valley, the Maori Cultural Experience, and the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute; and it is one of Rotorua’s top attractions. It boasts two excellent interactive galleries (no photographs allowed) and both the weaving and carvings schools let you watch artworks evolve. The highlight of the thermal reserve is definitely the effusive Pohutu Geyser. It usually erupts 10 to 25 times a day to a height of 16 to 20m (53-66 ft.). This steamy little valley is also known for its mud pools, which average 194°F to 203°F (90°C-95°C). The 1 1/2-hour guided tour is a good option, allowing you a chance to learn about the culture and the thermal activity. It includes a look through a replica of a Maori village (as opposed to the real living Maori village of nearby Whakarewarewa), and the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, established in 1963 to foster traditional Maori carving and weaving skills. If this is your first experience with Maori culture, I’d spend about 2 to 3 hours here minimum -- if only to get value from the rather exorbitant entry fee—and see one of the live performances as well—either the midday concert or the Te Po performance at 6pm, which includes a full hangi (earth oven) meal. Don’t miss the excellent gift shop.