Steaming pools & bubbling mud in RotoruaNovember 8, 2016 in New Zealand
A sunny day at last! Finally we get to enjoy a day in Rotorua, one of the places I remember well from my last trip here. I loved it the last time I came 8 years ago, despite the smell of bad eggs, and was looking forward to Rob getting to see all the awesome geothermal geography here.
We headed to Wai-O-Tapu in the late morning which is described as a geothermal wonderland, full of steaming geysers, colourful lakes and large terraces with bubbling mud pools close by.
The place is incredible, you walk on a boarded walkway around part of this huge geothermal area viewing large and steaming collapsed craters, with crystallised yellow sulphur minerals on the walls as well as small funeroles letting out lots of steam. You stand looking down into them, barely able to make out the bubbling liquid mud inside due to the steam, but you can hear it. The sound of thick bubbles popping and splurting at the surface. It's really loud and you can imagine just how hot it must be, definitely a reminder of how alive the earth is below the surface.
Some of the most beautiful sites though were the steaming pools here. In particular the champagne pool, a beautiful blue green colour with bright orange mineral deposit edges. It soiled into another pool of oranges, yellows, greens and a bit of purple and the colours from the viewing platform looked incredible. The steam would blow in the wind and at times if it was still, you could barely see the beautiful colour beneath. When the wind blew a beautiful picture beneath became visible, ever changing with the wind direction. So awesome!
We could walk over this too on a boarded platform without any sides so you could really appreciate it all. There were dark brown pools too (the devils ink wells) which were coloured due to crude oil. And then the huge lake at the end, a brilliant turquoise green surrounded by forest, the odd bit of steam visible on the land at areas around the edge.
In addition to all of this was the beautiful forest surrounding these pools. Manuka and kanuka forests (tea tree) which have a gorgeous orange algae growing all over them. Very strange and very pretty. The odd redwood was present too, but we were planning to visit the nearby redwood forest in the afternoon!
After completing the walk here we headed out and down the road a few hundred meters to the free mud pools. These were also awesome. Vey thick, bubbling mud erupting amongst more liquid mud in a fairly large pool. You could see the areas of thick hot mud, bubbling a little bit for a minute of two and then suddenly erupting with large bubbles and splurts of mud, about a meter high. Really awesome to both watch and listen to!
Really hard to put this whole place into words. Just a beautiful place. So glad we are here off season too as it was also quiet enough to really get to take it all in. With the blue skies too it was a bonus!Read more