A Travellerspoint blog

How the World Began (part 2)

Saturday 10th October 2015

semi-overcast 15 °C

I was sad to be leaving Rotorua today. It isn't that the town itself is particularly special, in fact it is a little run down in places. However I really liked the hotel, and the peace and relaxation it offered once the door was shut behind us. In addition there are lots of interesting things to do within the area and we could have easily spent another few days exploring. We weren't in any particular hurry to get to our next destination and we had decided to delay our departure from the Rotorua area and go to Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park this morning. One of their key attractions is the Lady Knox Geyser which is 'seeded' every morning at 10:15. This meant that we had to be out of our accommodation a little earlier than usual. We arrived at the visitor centre in plenty of time to get our tickets and then drive the short distance to the geyser. There was plenty of seating and we positioned ourselves in a spot where we thought we would have a good view. A guide came just before the advertised time and explained a little about the geyser and why they set it off with surfactant (it's cycle is erratic meaning that not many visitors wouldn't see it erupt). It took about five minutes or so for it to explode into action but when it did it continued for nearly an hour and was still spluttering when we moved on. In some ways it was more spectacular when it slowed down a bit as you could then see more of the water droplets coming out of the vent.

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Once we had our fill of the Lady Knox Geyser we drove back to the main bit of the park to have a look at the other attractions. There were three sections to the walk and we decided that we wanted to do all of them in order to maximise the number of features that we could see. The main thing that struck me was the array of colours that can be found in nature. Whether this is the sulphurous coloured rocks or the yellows and blues of the Artist's Palate, the green and ochre of the lichen on the ground and growing on the trees, the soft opal greens of the Frying Pan Flat and some of the waterfalls, or the more intense emerald green of the Lake Ngakoro and the pea green of Devil's Bath.

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Perhaps the most spectacular is the 700 hundred year old Champagne Pool which is 65 metres in diameter and 62 metres deep. It has a combination of minerals and metals including gold, silver, mercury, sulphur and arsenic colouring the water turquoise and the sinter ledge bright orange.

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When we had finished looking around we went back to the visitor centre where we ate a late lunch, after which we started making our way to our bed and breakfast in Waitomo which was a couple ours away. The scenery was lovely for much of the way, but as is often the way there were tantalising glimpses with few places to stop and even less time to explore.

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By about 5pm we had arrived and checked in. We were able to relax in the guest lounge for a while and also eat a supper of cheese baguettes that we had prepared earlier. Our room was pretty but quite small and the whole house was perched on a little hill with great views of the surrounding countryside. Our host was very friendly but was perhaps a little too hyper for my taste. Despite being perfectly friendly and comfortable it didn't really do anything to change my mind about traditional bed and breakfasts.

Posted by Gill's Travels 01:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged rotorua new_zealand geothermal

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