Whakarewarewa, in the city of Rotorua, New Zealand, is well known for its thermal attractions.

The mud pools of Whakarewarewa are known as "porridge pots". In these pools, mud can be seen swirling in endlessly changing patterns. Bubbles of sulfurous gas send tiny globules of hot mud into theair, as they explode upon reaching the surface.

Geyser Flat

Terraces composed of crystalline silica provide the backdrop for Geyser Flat, the home of Whakarewarewa's seven geysers.

Most of the time, these geysers are quiet pools of steaming water. However, at frequent, irregular, intervals they erupt into life, rolling and bubbling before sending fountains of water high into the air.

Pohutu, on Geyser Flat, is the largest geyser in New Zealand. It dramatic plume of boiling water and steam can be as tall as 30m (100ft) high.

It is impossible to predict when Pohutu will erupt. Months may pass before it stirs, but when it does, it may erupt several times a day.

Pohutu's activity is usually preceded by that of a smaller geyser, the Prince of Wales Feathers, whose waters emerge through three outlets and create a display resembling the ostrich-feather emblem of Britain's Prince of Wales.

Both geysers draw on the same reserve of underground water and erupt in a predictable pattern. The Prince of Wales Feathers sends jets of water to a height of 12m (40ft) for about two or five hours. Then, as soon as it dies down, Pohutu erupts.

Waimangu Springs

The thermal springs of Waimangu lie to the east of Whakarewarewa. Waimangu Geyser was once the world's most spectacular geyser. Its first recorded eruption was in 1900. In 1904, it sent up a stream of scalding water that reached an estimated 450m (1,500ft). Over the succeeding years, its activity became less frequent and reduced in size until 1917, when it ceased altogether.

Waimangu Cauldron, near the site of Waimangu Geyser is a steaming lake.

Rising above one side of this lake are the Cathedral Rocks. Clothed in lush vegetation, they steam constantly as boiling water emerges through cracks in the rocks and cascades to the cauldron below.

On cold days, the lake is blanketed by strands of water vapor that are moved and twisted by light breezes.

Lake Rotomahana was once the main attraction in this region. It was famous for its Pink and White Terraces. Built up over centuries by the accumulation of minerals in the hot spring water, these terraces covered almost 5 hectares (12 acres) and sparkled in many graded shades of white and pink. When the lake's green and blue water trickled over them, they glistened in a rich array of delicate pastel hues

In 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, dramatically altering the land around Waimangu. The eruption increased the depth of the Lake Rotomahana 20-fold to 213m (700ft), causing the terraces to become completely submerged.