Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Your body is a thermal wonderland

Part two of our visit to Rotorua's Wai-o-Tapu "thermal wonderland" park. Incidentally, although Rotorua is certainly a well-known tourist destination, I feel like I never see it on blogs or Buzzfeed-style "12 reasons not to visit New Zealand" lists. Is it something those of you who are unfamiliar with New Zealand have seen or heard of? Or does it fly under the radar unless you're actively researching a trip here?

Walkway over the sinter terraces (formed from silica deposits) next to the Champagne Pool

The Primrose Terrace, not a lake but a large mineral deposit

The Champagne pool is 65 metres across and 62 deep, with a surface temperatures of 74°C. I love the look of the steam rising off its surface, which is also quite the experience in real life, since it's (unsurprisingly) warm and pungent. A steam bath is not quite what you want on a hot summer's day, but we couldn't resist lingering around the rim for plenty of photos.

The colours of the lake are due to mineral deposits including gold, silver, mercury, sulphur, arsenic, thallium, and antimony, and the crust around the lake is due to earthquake activity (the lake itself was formed only 700 years ago in a hydrothermic eruption). These photos, by the way, have not been enhanced - it really is that colour!

The Champagne Pool is probably the most spectacular sight in the park, but by no means the only feature. Nearby, for example, is the "Devil's Bath", which owes its bright colours to overflow water from the Champagne Pool mixing with sulphur and ferrous salts in its crater.

The Frying Pan Flat, possibly
The Devil's Home, a collapsed crater where the devil hangs out between baths

Jules and one of the Devil's Ink Pots, mud pools coloured with crude oil and graphite.

The Inferno Crater

The Jean Batten Geyser. The first woman to fly both ways between Australia and England, she must have been particularly honoured to have this named after her instead of the devil.

Jules by the Alum Cliffs
As you can imagine, by the time we had made our way around all of these sights, we were pretty hot, tired and hungry. Then we discovered one of the true joys of motor homing - there was our kitchen and living room, right there in the carpark. We stopped for a gourmet lunch of tacos before heading to Taupo, a short way away.


  1. You're in New Zealand! Of course, you know where you are but I'm just settling in for a good read. :)

  2. You're in New Zealand! Of course, you know where you are but I'm just settling in for a good read. :)


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