The overwhelmingly memorable feature of this geothermically active area is the strong smell of sulphur in the air from all the hot springs and mud pools which dominate this region.
Some liken to to a 'slight bad egg' smell, but I think this overstates the case.
Yes, you can smell it, but it soon fades from the senses as you get used to it and are awestruck by the surrounding beauty of the area.
The Holiday Inn is a lovely hotel, situated on the edge of town, yet within walking distance of all the main attractions.
The reception areas are smart and clean and the rooms spacious.
Ask for rooms at the back and you will oversee a very active hot spring area with steaming pools and streams amongst the vegetation. They also overlook the well kept Maori village, which is a tourist attraction in it's own right.
The Hotel's own theatre is the venue for the unmissable Maori Feast night. Here traditional songs and dances are acted out by native islanders from the village. Keep eye contact and you may well end up on stage (as I did) performing the Haka.
The buffet feast afterwards is worth the fee alone.
The town itself is spotless and has a lovely country feel to it with lots to see and do, icluding a showboat ride or parascending on the huge lake.