The quick actions of a girl who fell into a hot mudpool near Rotorua probably saved her from worse burns, St John Ambulance says.
The 12-year-old, understood to be from Rotorua, was running through the Whakarewarewa geothermal area when she slipped and fell into the mudpool on Thursday.
The girl suffered third-degree burns to 50% of her body and is in a serious but stable condition in Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit on Friday.
St John's Lakes District operations manager, Norm Riedinger, says she managed to get out of the mud and was lying in a cold stream when paramedics arrived.
"She and her friends around her, they did everything right," he said.
"She got into the stream, and did that fairly quickly, so even though she's received some serious burns I would suggest that it could have been a lot worse had she not been able to get in that cold water."
Mr Riedinger says the girl's legs have been seriously burned and her torso, arms and neck have moderate burns.
Warning signs at Whakarewarewa
The Rotorua District Council says it would be impossible to fence-off the area at Whakarewarewa where the girl fell.
Parks and recreation manager Garry Page says the accident happened near a well-defined walkway at the popular tourist attraction.
Mr Page says it is one of thousands of geothermal features in the area
and there are signs on all council walkways warning people of the dangers.
The council will investigate the accident.