The Wai-O-Tapu is a geo thermal area that lies close to the Okataina Volcanic Centre. It has been declared a scenic preserve, and is protected as such. Waiotapu means 'sacred waters' in Maori. There are numerous thermal springs that dot this region and make the landscape rather colorful and exciting. Spread over an area of 18 square kilometers, this popular tourist site lies 27 kilometers from the city of Rotorua.
Most of this area can be explored on foot, and while much of it is free, there are some sections that require that you buy a ticket for access. Some notable spots that should not be missed include the Champagne Pool, the Artist's Palette and the Central Pools. Every morning the Lady Knox Geyser erupts, throwing bubbling mineral rich waters up to 20 meters in the air.