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How the World Began (part 1)

Friday 9th October 2015

sunny 16 °C

We had booked a trip to one of the geo-thermal areas today but as we didn't need to be there until about 1pm we were able to have another slow start and relax in our apartment for most of the morning. We then left to make the 30 minute journey to Waimangu Volcanic Valley at about midday. As we left the highway to drive the last few kilometres, the countryside was heavily wooded and gave no indication of the geothermal activity that was present nearby. We arrived at the visitor centre and explained that we wanted to do the full walk down to the lake which is about a two and a half mile walk.

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The footpath initially went past the southern crater, which was a deep emerald green in colour and from there we walked along the edge of the Echo Crater and watched the steam rising from Frying Pan Lake. There was an atmospheric rock formation called Cathedral Rocks which had steam rising up from the lake as well as fumaroles releasing steam into the atmosphere.

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As we walked past these formations, every now and again we would get whiffs of sulphur. From the overflow stream from Frying Pan Lake we took a short diversion to the incredibly bright blue Inferno Crater lake which has a 38 day cycle during which time the water level rises by 12 meters before discharging into the streams that eventually flow into Lake Rotomahania.

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It was fascinating looking at the steaming streams and waterfalls that are a feature of the valley.

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As we continued on our walk we went past the bright ochre coloured Marble and Warbrick Terraces, spluttering out steaming water and mineral deposits shaping and reshaping the landscape as they do so.

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The further we got on the walk and the more bus stops we passed (there are three on the way to the lake) we saw less and less people. We had about two hours to make the walk down to alongside the stream to Lake Rotomahania from where we had arranged to go on a 45 minute boat trip to see more geothermal features, many of which were linked to the the eruption of Mount Tarawara 131 years ago.

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This joined two small lakes and increased the overall size of the flooded area many times over. There was only Nigel and I on the cruise and it was surprising that they still went out with so few people, but as we had walked two hours to get there we were pretty glad they honoured the booking. We were taken across the centre of the lake from where we could see the main crater of the volcano and then continued along the shoreline seeing more fumaroles and mini geysers as we went.

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The strap line for the park, which is How the World Began, really seemed to fit the area. When we got back to the mooring we were able to catch the bus back to the visitor centre from where we drove back to Rotorua stopping at a supermarket en-route to get provisions in order to cook a risotto for dinner. Before I started cooking we took a hour out for a gin and tonic and some relaxing time in the hot tub.

Posted by Gill's Travels 19:07 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes lakes rivers rotorua new_zealand geothermal

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