New Zealand

Whangioterangi (Echo Lake)

Here you’ll find travel reports about Whangioterangi (Echo Lake). Discover travel destinations in New Zealand of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
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  • Day9

    It's similar to the Waimanga but it is the most colourful and diverse volcanic area in NZ. There are seen many bubbling mud pools, lakes, craters, steam vents and mineral terraces. 😃
    And the everlasting breath of sulphur 😁

  • Day20

    My departure from Taupo was fairly uneventful. The night prior I had met a new bunkmate, ellie, who was from Belgium. We hit it off, but regretfully didn't really have too much time besides dinner to chat. I said goodbye to her and to my elder roomie and was on my way. The drive to Rotorua was only an hour and half way there I saw a sign for Wai-O-Tapu, a park built on its geothermal features.

    Before describing the park it's important to know that the whole region is sitting on top of a massive supervolvano much larger in scale than the one under Mt St. Helens. Much of the local power is driven by geothermal energy and there are a number of places where the heat is very close to the surface. Frighteningly, the volcano itself is overdue for an eruption. They say if it goes off it could easily usher in a new ice age, or at least freeze the earth for years while the dust literally settles.

    I pulled into the park with absolutely no expectations, but was immediately pleasantly surprised at how clean and well Iaid out it was. I paid my admission fee and entered. If my memory serves me right this is the first park (except for sitting in the grass in Austin ) that I have been to solo in my life. Turns out it wasn't too bad. I stopped at pretty much every thing marked on the guide map, took pictures and spent a bit of time contemplating each one.

    As I rounded the a curve around a particularly large, boiling, belching, multi-colored pool the wind began blowing in my direction. The hot, humid, sulphur-laced air that engulfed me felt like a god with exceptionally bad morning breath was exhaling in my direction after a thousand year slumber. I could almost wring it out of my clothes it was so moist.

    After escaping the clutches of Dios de Halitosis I left that part of the park and made my way to the Lady Knox Geyser. Long story short they pour some soap in the thing every day around 10:30am which breaks the surface tension of the water and triggers an eruption. It was cute, but not mind-blowing. On the way out a group of people stopped me and asked is I was from Austin because I was wearing an Austin t-shirt. Turns out they are from Westlake. What a small world it is.

    I bid Wai-O-Tapu goodbye and completed the drive to Rotorua. Check-in at the hostel was not until 2 pm and it was only a bit after 11, so I went to a cafe and had some incredible braised lamb. While eating I paid some bills and saw just how much I've spent so far. Woops. Oh well. I decided to go check out the Redwoods in a park nearby and take a short hike.

    The park was only five minutes from town and pretty impressive from the start. There was a sign near where I entered that said it was a family-friendly, low-impact, 2.9k (1.8 mile) hike. This sounded good after a delicious lunch. A half mile or so in I came across an intersection with another trail that was not marked and just picked a direction. By now my muscles were warm and I was feeling pretty good so I did a bit more exercise like lunges and whatnot. This evolved into me deciding to run up as many of the hills as I could. It was fun.

    Now, by this point I should have realized that I was off the "family friendly" part of the trail because it had become quite steep, wet and narrow, but that did not yet register. Ascending the hill even more, the views of Lake Rotorua became more and more beautiful until the trail had me descending some distance later with no real thought to where I was going . Coming across a road and another trail intersection I finally decided to check Google maps. My options were to walk the road back which sounded lame, or try and find another trail back. I opted for the latter and re-entered the forest, not realizing I had just signed up for hours more hiking.

    A short distance later a 40 foot suspension bridge appeared with a spigot on one side. The water was more than welcome, but i should have probably had more because it was the last water I would see on the hike . Crossing the bridge landed me in some interesting scenery and some that I would be looking at for most of the remainder of my journey. Specifically, logging is a huge industry here and about a quarter mile from the bridge I could see forest that was freshly felled, some that was replanted a few years ago, some a bit older and a few that had never been cut. Seeing multiple generations of trees simultaneously was fascinating. Prior to this I do not believe I had seen deforestation. While I completely understand its necesity, a bit of me was sad to see it. Thankfully I would later have a clearer understanding of how resilient the trees and land can be.

    My trek took me directly into the areas that had been cleared, so I got an up close view. In the cleared area there was an abundance small flowering bushes that were frequented by some kind of fat bees. Life was going on. Another half mile up I saw some trees that could have not been over a year old. I'm not sure trees can be cute, but if they can, these were. These saplings were a sharp contrast to a couple of massive Redwoods not much farther up. It would
    Take three people my size holding hands to wrap our arms around one. I think that didn't cut these down to give the saplings something to aspire to.

    Rechecking my google maps it appeared as if my trek was about half over. I took a deep breath and my shirt off and kept marching through the deforested area back into the woods... back up and up. My legs were a little tired by now, but not too bad. Another mile up a water treatment facility came into view. They sure did a good job of hiding it out of sight of the town. Coming across it reminded me a bit of the prison in The Walking Dead, but I saw no zombies. Boo. Across from this facility was a marker saying that the trees there had been planted in 1990. For 26 year old trees they seemed pretty big to me and I felt better seeing how fast the land rejuvenated itself.

    Another mile or so up I finally found a map and got on track to get back to my truck. I was getting thirsty and the only thing I had snacked on was some invasive, but delicious blackberries. From here it was probably under two miles to go. I passed the park office, grabbed a drink, a map and some post cards followed by a 10 minute walk along a delightfully level road to my truck.

    I had spent almost four hours on what was supposed to be a 40 minute hike. Next time I'll get a map FIRST and not forget a water bottle no matter how short the hike.

    This morning (the morning after ) my feet and back are a bit sore, but I'm really no worse for the wear. I'll have to find a harder path to conquer soon.
    Read more

  • Day8

    Waiotapu (Māori for "sacred waters") is an active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okataina Volcanic Centre, just north of theReporoa caldera, in New Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone. It is 27 kilometres south of Rotorua. Due to dramatic geothermal conditions beneath the earth, the area has many hot springs noted for their colourful appearance, in addition to the Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Pool, Artist's Palette, Primrose Terrace and boiling mud pools.Read more

  • Day10

    Okay so 9am Felix and I set out for our first of two adventures today! It's not quite as nice of weather down here compared to Paihia so had to dress warmer but at least there was sun and not rain! Also this morning while getting ready I found out there is a dog that lives in the hostel! DAY MADE!

    Waiotapu was our first adventure. Our first stop was a geothermal mud pool. The mud bubbled repeatedly and steam rose constantly from the surface of the mud. It was 100°C or 212°F. Pretty crazy stuff.

    The next stop was a geyser which erupted right in front of us. It was nice but really not as epic as I thought it would be. In fact most people seemed quite disappointed. Still quite amazing when you stop and think about it though!

    Finally we made it to the park. It offered a 3km walk/hike with all sorts of beautiful nature scenes. I took a few pictures. The sulfur and other elements created lakes and pools with colours that were quite abnormal. Some bright greens, some reds, even purples. I had a small butter chicken pot pie for lunch which was surprisingly quite tasty. Felix and I even had a few birds pull up and sit with us at the table which was quite nice.

    After lunch Felix and I took the bus back to the hostel. My post is going to end here but my day doesn't so be sure to read the next post about my evening adventure with Felix!

    -Terrence out
    Read more

  • Day7

    A very wet morning as we visited the sulphur beds that make up the magical Waiotapu Thermal Wonderlands. If they ever wanted to reboot Blake's Seven then this would be the place to film it. As Daniel's friend for the day would describe the place..'Awesome!'

    Video - https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2215A2246ACFDF3F!105803&authkey=!ACydE4OtutH1w9A&ithint=video,mp4

    More pictures -https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2215A2246ACFDF3F!99713&authkey=!ADaUJboPnWbe_C0&ithint=folder,JPGRead more

  • Day37

    What an extraordinary place on the way from Rotorua to Taupo. Definitely a location worth to visit!

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Whangioterangi (Echo Lake)

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