The Wai-O-Tapu thermal area covers about 18km square adjoining the Rotorua-Taupo main highway about 27 kilometers south of Rotorua. Steam and gases rising through the pool create bubbles of mud that form and burst. Wai-O-Tapu occupies the site of what was formerly the largest mud volcano in New Zealand. The original cone, present until 1925 is now eroded, and vigorously active water and mud fill the pool. A 100m track to the pool is made up of boardwalks and an elevated viewing platform. It is suitable for all fitness levels and those needing wheelchair access. 

Caution: Geothermal hazards! The geothermal landscape is extremely fragile, and is also a potentially dangerous environment. Visitors should keep to the tracks. Hazards include falling through thin crust surfaces, being burnt by hot geothermal gases or fluids, and inhalation of fatal concentrations of carbon dioxide and sulphur gases.