Monday, February 22, 2016

Gallivanted on Volcanoes

In the afternoon of our first day in Rotorua, New Zealand we went to the Thermal Park. This primarily is the purpose of our trip here this weekend. Rotorua is just about 3 hours and 30 minutes bus ride from Central Auckland, so easy for us to reach. We were only 5 persons in the van from Rotorua to Wai-o-tapu Thermal Park, 27 km south of Rotorua. The driver-guide parked his van outside the gate of the park and gave us the meeting time at the end of our volcanic walk.

My sister and i were so excited in looking at how volcanoes look like. We have lots of volcanoes in my country, but definitely not as "kind"as these volcanoes are. Nobody seems to be in a hurry or scared that there will be sudden explosions, everybody enjoy the craters in their own sweet happy time. Wai-o-tapu has been described äs one of the most surreal places in the world. The landscape was sculptured thousands of years ago by geothermal activity where unique volcanic features can be viewed leisurely from well defined tracks.  The three walks are from 30 to 75 minutes. We of course chose the longest one, completely enumerating every nooks and cranies! 

 This is a common scene of volcanic vents even in my country. There are just some oozing muds and bubbles, not very spectacular at first. Some of these craters we see at our entrance. We immediately let the camera work, thinking these might be the most spectacular already.

This is the start of our walk, we intended to follow the red arrow, but eventually we followed all the colors of the arrow. Anyway, our driver gave us more than 1.5 hrs.

 Then as we walk, there are cascades of water flows that leave mineral deposits hardening the paths.

 There are also holes that really looks scary if someone accidentally falls in them. I am sure these holes go direct to the center of the boiling earth.

 Surrounding the walks are almost dead vegetation, which don't know if these are because of the volcanic fumes or some fungus or microorganisms that destroyed them.

 This could be one of the Artists' Palette as described in the brochure. Are these mineral deposits or lichens i am not so sure too.
 the famous Champagne Pool

 the central viewing deck looking at the Champagne Pool

or this could be the real Artists' Palette, it is beautifully colored with lots of minerals

A lovely bird walks the seemingly cold rocks, there is also another bird that can walk on hot waters. This could be a male chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), thanks to Bettyl-NZ for the ID.

 label says Sulphur Cave, hmm, might as well be Devil's cave

 a little waterfall is a welcome sight for me, as if it can wash some fumes  

 A cropped portion of the Champagne Pool. The color depends on the mineral deposits and its chemical reaction with the volcanic water and other ions there producing different lovely colors as they precipitated.
 The walks are very well cared for, both on ground and the rails. I don't think there will be tourists here who will suffer from accidents like falling into the hot waters or into burning craters! Every step is secure, safe and reliable.

 A very lovely color for what they termed as Devil's Bath. It can be exciting to know the etymology of the label.

 Those white flowering bushes are the Manuka tea trees, where the famous Manuka honey come from. The bees love them for their nectar, maybe it is expensive for the minerals and nutrients in the honey that come only from these volcanic soils.

this this already the road on the way back to the gate, where our vehicle is parked

 the label at the EXIT ensures that everyone memorize the name of the park


  1. This is an awesome experience. I have never seen a volcano up close or its vent. Incredible.

  2. Such a wonderful series of the Waiotapu Thermal Park and it brought back memories of the gorgeous Champaign pool (we were there 18 years ago). The Sulphur cave looks so beautiful, although a bit of mysterious.

  3. Hello, what a wonderful walk at the Thermal Park. Some of the photos look like they could be taken in the USA at Yellowstone. The Champaign Pool is beautiful with all it's colors. Thanks for sharing your visit. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  4. There's a lot to see in Rotorua and I'm glad you're enjoying your visit. The little bird in the photo is a chafinch.

    1. Oh thanks Bettyl-NZ, most specially in identifying the bird. These are actually taken a year ago, but i have been remiss in posting.

  5. Oh my these are amazing colorful pools...

  6. Hi Andrea... These are amazing and I have never seen anything like them. Thanks for sharing them with Nature Notes... Michelle

  7. Oh wow--what a fascinating place! Those formations are amazing, especially the Devil's Bath and the Champagne Pool. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!


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