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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  • Day7

    So why is the smell so disgusting? It's because of the sulphur that comes through the earths surface by either water or air. Most people describe the scent as rotten eggs. It is safe and non-toxic but it stinks. However, after a certain amount of time, the smell 'grows' on you and fades away...

    After what we've seen in Rotorua city centre, we now have Waiotapu, 'Thermal Wonderland'.
    This national reserve is an exposition of all mother earth has to offer when it comes to volcanic / geothermal activity. Again, we let the photos do the talking. Unfortunately (or is it fortunate?) we can't add smell ;-)

    After Waiotapu, we drove past lake Taupo, in the direction of National Park. This is actually the name of the township that lies in the National Park Tongariro. This Park, after Yellowstone being the first official National Park in the world, is the fourth of it's kind in the world (and the first in NZ). The park has a dual World Heritage status and on Mt Ruapehu it even sports a large skiing area.
    Today, we would be doing a scenic flight over here, but unfortunately due to communication problems at the operator Mountain Air, we weren't informed that flights for the day were cancelled due to high winds and bad visibility around the mountains. So, unfortunately, no flying today...

    On the other hand, we were now able to dine early and go to bed early also... which was coming in handy as we needed to get up at 0530 the next day for our biggest (physical) adventure: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
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  • Day28

    After yesterday's taste of Thermal vistas, we decided to check out another park that is supposed to have all sorts of interesting colors of thermal activity.

  • Day212

    Man könnte meinen, dass wir von dem Schwefelgeruch noch nicht genug hatten, denn wir haben freiwillig unsere Nasen nochmal dem Gestank ausgesetzt: Im "Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland", südlich von Rotorua. In diesem Gebiet sind vor langer, langer Zeit mehrere Krater entstanden, weil die Bodenstruktur zusammengebrochen ist. Einige Krater sind mit Wasser gefüllt, das bis zu 100 Grad heiß werden kann und deswegen auch blubbert und dampft. Der Dampf ist auch der Grund für den Geruch, der bestimmt nicht jedermann seins ist. Und wir mussten genau durch diesen Dunst auf einem Holzweg, der uns zu dem "Champagne Pool" führte. Wohl der bekannteste und der größte in diesem Wonderland, da er mit seinem orangenen Ufer und dem blauen Wasser auffällt. Auch richtig krass war der sogenannte "Devil's Pool", der seinem Namen alle Ehre machte. Sah wie ein Teufelswerk und nicht von dieser Welt aus, weil der See aufgrund des hohen Schwefelgehalts einfach neongelb war. Und das Bild wurde nicht bearbeitet! Wir sind insgesamt knapp 75 Minuten durch dieses etwas andere Wonderland gelaufen und haben unter anderem auch noch das "Bird's Nest", einen tiefen Krater, gesehen. Teilweise waren in diesem Gelände auch Holzschnitzereien vertreten, die dem ganzen einen maorischen Flair verliehen haben. Durch die austretenden Giftstoffe aus dem Erdinneren sind auch größtenteils die Bäume und Pflanzen orange verfärbt, wir wissen ja nicht, ob die überhaupt noch Photosynthese betreiben können...
    Steffis in Wonderland, was ein geologisches Erlebnis seitens unserer Natur.
    Und danach sind wir noch kurz zu den Mud Pools, in denen der Schlamm nur so hochspritzt und sich ziemlich nach Furz anhört. Manche Löcher haben durchgehend Matsch in die Luft gewirbelt, andere hingegen waren wohl etwas schüchtern und haben sich dann mit einem kleineren, aber lauteren Geräuschkonzert erleichtert. Die haben uns mit Abstand am besten gefallen, haha! Wahrscheinlich hätte kein Mensch bemerkt, wenn wir gepupst hätten, selbst der Geruch wäre nicht aufgefallen.
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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.
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