Visitors to Rotorua have been "taking to the waters" and dipping their toes and torsos in hot geothermal springs for more than 150 years.

The region's geothermal activity is tailor-made for world renowned spa treatment and relaxation, and a major tourist attraction for the city since the late 19th century.

Any number of motels have hot pools to soak in, while specialised spas offer a range of therapeutic remedies, using hot mud baths and steam beds.

Maori discovered the health qualities of sulphurous geothermal springs using the hot pools to cure ailments and rejuvenate the body after battles.

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There are a wide range of spa treatments available, using traditional Maori massage, mud facials, wraps and baths in a geothermal pool, or mineral hot springs to relax body, mind and soul.

Four main spa complexes - Polynesian Pools, Wai-Ora Resort, Hell's Gate and Spa at QE - all have a variety of treatments available.

The acidic geothermal water is renowned for soothing tired muscles, aches and pains, and more serious ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism, while the alkalinity of the water and mineral-enriched geothermal mud help rejuvenate and restore skin tissue. It is possible to take a little bit of Rotorua with you when you leave, as many of the spas have geothermal mud in packaged and sold as a skincare product.

The Rotorua Daily Post Essential 50 lists the city's must-see, must-do and must-try activities and experiences, thanks to reader nominations. We will be highlighting one every day.

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