Roto-vegas

Trip Start Jan 06, 2007
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Trip End Mar 03, 2007


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Monday, February 12, 2007

I had heard the term Roto-Vegas before and it was pretty clear how it got this nick name when I drove threw town past all the tacky attractions, tour buses and accomodation. I headed to a camp site out from the centre of town to a campsite that boasted its own thermal pools, natually heated grass camping areas abd steam hangi cooker.

Early on I ventured out the 20 odd kms to visit Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. I had to be there at 10.15 for the Lady Knox Gyser, which is a little up the road. This erupts at this time every day with a little help form some organic soap. It was fisrt discovered it would erupt with soap when some workers were cleaning their clothes at the area and some a bar of soap fell into the gyser and woosh, instant eruption. The workers over time built up the sides of the gyser so it now spurts out about 20 meters into the air.
The gyser was packed with tourists which was a little off putting but once everyone had seen it erupted most rushed back to Waiotapu to beat the crowds into the park. I hanged back for a while as the gyser erupts for an hour and managed to get some decent photos without the crowds.



After the Lady Know Gyser I headed back and into the main thermal area. I really enjoyed the "Sacred Waters" park with the many different thermal pools of contrasting colours. The absolute highlight and reason most go to this thermal park is to see the Champagne Pool, which is a huge green steaming pool with the white calcium inriched rock on the edge leading into lower rim of rich red-tan rock and then the green waters. Its one of those places that you hesitate to walk away from as its unlikely you will ever see as unique of a place.

On the way back from the Thermal Area I stopped off at place called Kerosene creek which is pool of thermal water in the middle of a farmers field. I got into my bathers and slid myslef into the hot thermal water. I was really refreshing in the breeze and was really peaceful. There was ony a couple of other people in the pools at the time.



Back in Roto-Vegas I spent the afternoon after the thermal pools at the old Maori Village of Ohinemutu. At the village is the St Faiths Anglican Church which is a cross between Maori and traditional church designs. Beside the Church there is also the Tamatekapua Meeting House that has an intricately carved facade. It was quite weird walking around this area as every little pot hole in the road and parks had boiling water pertubing out from the ground.

After Ohinemutu I headed to Kuirau Park which is a small pretty unspectacular thermal area near the centre of town. At best its only pools of boling mud, lots of steam and a thremal pool. In 2003 however the place blew its top covering the whole park in mud including the trees.
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