Te Puia is a cultural and geological park that offers a taste of Rotorua: New Zealand's cultural & volcanic capital.
Te Puia is just a short drive from the town centre of Rotorua and transfers from Base Backpackers are available. There a number of packages and experiences to choose from: Moari Cultural Performance, All you can eat traditional Hangi Feast, entrance to Geothermal Valley, Arts & Crafts workshops & Maori architecture.
As you walk throughout the native bush land you will come across traditional Maori carvings and structures with their own stories to tell, traditional Pa Sites and Marae, arts and crafts workshops such as bone carving or flax weaving & a Kiwi Bird viewing enclosure.
You can also include a Maori cultural performance and Hungi Feast with your Te Puia visit. The evening begins with a traditional Maori welcoming followed by a visit to the Hangi pit - a traditional Maori cooking technique that involves cooking meat and vegetables underground.
You are then welcomed into the Marae (traditional meeting house) for Maori storytelling, song and dance. I was blown away by the performance and was even lucky enough to learn the Poi, plus the Haka never fails to give me goosebumps.
Following the performance you are then welcomed into the dining hall - lined with all you can eat Hangi goodness: Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Vegetables, Soup, Seafood, Salads & Desert - I was struggling to walk afterwards!
With a glass of wine in hand as the sun was setting, we were then guided into a tiny train that lead us to Geothermal Valley - home of Pohutu Geyser. Although Te Puia is open throughout the day, I recommend visiting this remarkable natural wonder at night time as the mist that erupts from the geyser forms a scary yet unbelievable setting – it reminded me of Jurassic Park.