NZ Volcanic

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
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Trip End Jun 28, 2010


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After the weekend in Ngunguru I overnighted in Auckland (where I went for drinks with a third cousin who I'd never even heard of before) and drove to Rotorua the next day.  Rotorua is a great base for visiting a number of NZ's best volcanic attractions and I started with a short rafting trip on the Kaituna River.   The river is actually pretty tame and you can travel down it in a raft or on a sled.  I chose rafting because you can't go over the 7m Okere Falls on a sled (apparently somebody had an accident some years ago which stopped the fun for everybody else.  The first four pics show the descent of Okere Falls (I'm at the back to starboard) and in the last two I'd moved to the front. 




                                                                                                                                        
However, it's not the rafting that people visit usually Rotorua for and my first excursion was to Wai-O-Tapu which proved to be a mind-blowing (and very enjoyable) assault on the senses.  I'll let the photos tell the story.









Waimangu is on the way back to Rotorua from Wai-O-Tapu and the experience there was more understated.  The Frying Pan Lake really needed a video camera to capture the wisps of steam darting across its surface.  Unfortunately I'd arrived too late in the day to do the boat trip but it was still a most enjoyable visit.








Hell's Gate is a great place to get a mud bath and I explored the site before checking in at the mud spa.  It's not as colorful as here as it is at Wai-O-Tapu and some of the attractions look distinctly hellish.  There was a particularly amusing sign that presumably gets photographed by everybody who visits.  Later in the walk I bumped into Amanda (from Milwaukee) who was studying in New Zealand.

  
 





Having missed the daily eruption of of the Lady Knox Geyser on the Wai-O-Tapu  excursion, I checked out the geysers at Te Whakarewarewa, the most famous of which is the Pohutu Geyser.





 
                        
                                                                                                                                    
Orakei Korako was the the last of these volcanic sites that I visted and it was also the most remote.  Access was by a short boat trip from the visitor centre and practically nobody else was there (I did meet a couple of medical students from Nottingham in the cave).  This is a really super site and a little bit off the beaten path. 


 




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