Deep in Te Whakarewarewa Valley on a still autumn night there's the unmistakable sound of nature's forces about to be unleashed.

As we sat on the thermally heated hot rocks, surrounded by fellow tourists, the rumbling started.

Right in front of us the Pōhutu geyser erupted, right on cue. Water coming from it is well above boiling point (around 160–180C) and leaps 30m into the air.

It instantly evaporates to form water vapour, which then recondenses to form steam with that distinctive sulphurous odour that wafts around this wonderful natural amphitheatre.

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Pōhutu is the largest active geyser in the Southern

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Checklist: Rotorua