Hot Water Beach, not far north of Tairua on the Coromandel Coast, was where people took a spade to dig in the sand. Once they had a deep enough hole filled with thermal water, they sat and soaked up the warmth. Continue reading Hot Water Beach
About twenty minutes out of Rotorua, Waiotapu Scenic Reserve orchestrated its own particular rhythm with the sound of bursting mud. We stood on the lower platform before climbing to the higher one to capture the mud pool’s constant plopping melody. Continue reading Waiotapu Scenic Reserve
The following day was the first rainy day of my trip. I opened the bathroom window to let out the steam from a shower and the gassy volcanic smell of Rotorua seeped in. I found myself taking deep breaths as if addicted to the fumes.
I headed to the opposite side of Mt Tarawera from the boat cruise I took the previous day. Nearby stood the village of Te Wairoa, destroyed by Mt Tarawera’s eruption in 1886. Part of the destroyed site was excavated, revealing old Maori houses (whare), bottles, plates, and other tools of the times. Continue reading Te Wairoa buried Village
After Wai-O-Tapu, I travelled to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, fourteen kilometres south of Rotorua. I walked four kilometres to the jetty, down the slope past volcanic craters which blew out over a century earlier.
Passing toetoe grass, tea trees and black fern trees along with hot stream, fumes rose like mist, from obscure cracks in the path, from lakes and pools. The crater-lake reflected sparkling ripples before swallowed by another rush of steam. Continue reading Hiking Waimangu’s Volcanic Valley
Wai-O-Tapu lay twenty-seven kilometres south of Rotorua. This active thermal region had awesome trails through craters, falls, geysers and streams. Not only was it amazing to see steam rising off the water or through cracks and holes in the earth, but also to see the different colours the oxides transformed the water into: iridescent milky greens; bright orange; pitch black. Continue reading New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu thermal region