RotoruaMay 13, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 14 °C
This is a trip of many goals. Many milestones. The first, I saw a whale. Today, I saw the world's largest boiling lake. Not insignificant, I went to Hobbiton yesterday.
It's mother's day in New Zealand, as it is in America also. We tentatively located a church in town. It had no website, and seemed a bit doubtful, but it was the best plan we had going so we set out for the 10:30a service. A very tiny and diverse group of believers met there. Five, to be exact, so we made seven. Two south Indian teachers, a New Zealand truck driver and his wife who had been battling cancer for 20 years, and I believe a Maori gentleman. I'm glad we went, and I believe we were an encouragment to them. I plan to give them a rating on google at least, so others can find them and know what to expect.
It was pouring rain in the morning, which made transporting our breakfast supplies to the community kitchen a bit uncomfortable. I honestly looked all over trying to get a handle on what to expect of weather in May, and had a hard time. Some aspects of NZ are widely popularized, and others not a bit. As it turns out, what I never learned, but what everyone knows, is that winter is the rainy season here. We just hadn't experienced it yet, as May is a fall transition.
Thankfully, the sun started peaking out after the morning's service, and so we set out for one of the primary reasons we chose the North Island - Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Frying Pan Lake, the world's largest boiling lake. I've been wanting to see it ever since I went to the world's SECOND largest boiling lake, in Dominica. That still stands as the toughest hike I've ever done in my life. And today was actually a leisurely downhill stroll. Ahhhh.
But the lake, and the park, did not disappoint. It was a tourist site long before the lake existed. In the late 1800s, it was the site of a geyser that is still the largest ever recorded, that massively exploded every 36 hours. The pictures are just really unbelievable. In 1917, mt Tarawera, a still active volcano, erupted, and completely changed the landscape, blowing out what was once Frying Pan Flats, and making the lake. The rest of the geothermal sites, the pink and white terraces, were also covered in water, in what is now Lake Rotomahana.
Everything everywhere is venting, smoking, bubbling and spurting. And the water is very acidic, with pH's at 2-3. Nate and I agreed it reminded us of a young, tropical Yellowstone. It is, in fact, considered the newest geothermal site in the world, and it was remained unaltered, and highly studied since the big 1917 eruption.
An unexpected bit of wildlife: the place is thick with black swans! I counted at least 21 of them swimming and dunking all over the steaming Lake Rotomahana.Read more