About Me and My Travels

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Geothermal wonderland at Wai-o-tapu ,New Zealand

 Geothermal Wonderland

Wiaotapu - New Zealand 

wai-o-tapu,geothermal,new zealand

Waiotapu (Maori for "sacred waters")  is an 
active geothermal area at the southern end of the Okatiana volcanic center, just north of the Reporoa caldera.  Due to dramatic geothermal conditions beneath the earth, the area has many hot Springs, which are famous for their  for their colorful appearance. If you are visiting New Zealand, you must visit the Wai-O-Tapu Scenic Reserve, which is located close to the town of Rotorua. This is the perfect place to witness the eruption of a geyser, be mesmerized by the many colorful pools and bubbling mud pools.  Follow the link for more information on the park : Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland

Visit my youtube page at Geothermal Scenic tour of Wai-O-Tapu reserve and hit the subscribe button if you like it. 

There are a lot of tour choices from Rotorua. To book them visit the webpage for Viator at the following websiteWai-o-tapu scenic thermal wonderland

At the entrance of the reserve you will find Visitor center. This houses the rest rooms, a gift shop, the cafĂ© and an information center with the tour maps . The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, so make full use of their guidance. I recommend using the restrooms before embarking on the tour as there are none in the park. Do not forget to carry a bottle of water to keep hydrated and use sun screen. The sun rays in the southern hemisphere can be harsh.  The tour is self guided and has three routes which vary from 1km to 3km. depending on how much time and territory you want to cover. I recommend taking the full tour as this a once in a lifetime experience.

The tour path is well marked with lots of directional and informational information. You follow a clockwise path to keep the traffic moving and organized. As you begin the tour your first two stops are by the features called Rainbow Crater and Thunder Crater. A description of the craters is given below. 

You can see the steam from the underground water system. This erodes the ground causing the craters. (station 2 Rainbow crater) 

The oxidized minerals are deposited on the sides of the craters. (Station 2 Rainbow crater)

In this photo you can see how deep these craters can become. They look and sound ominous with all the bubbling and hissing sounds emanating from them (Station 3 Thunder Crater)

 At Station 4, you start coming across the "mud pools". The one interesting fact described in the sign is that the mud pools contained crude oil. Unfortunately not in  quantities enough to make it commercially viable. 

The mud pool is an acidic hot spring, with limited water. The acid and microorganism decompose the rock into clay and create the mud. This mud pool is aptly called the Devil's inkpot. 

As you walk towards Stations 5 and 6 you come across the area called 'Artists palette and Champagne Pool" 
The name Champagne Pool is derived from the constant efflux of carbon dioxide gas, similar to a glass of bubbling champagne. The vibrant colors come from a rich deposition of minerals and silicate. The silicate structures around the edge of the pool is teeming with microbial life. The informational signs posted give you details of the pool and the palette. The colors are vibrant and the whole view is awe inspiring. 

The overflowing water from the Champagne pool brings with it minerals that have originated deep below the surface. As the waters cool, it evaporates, exposing minerals that provide the showcase of colors. This area never looks the same two days in a row, changing depending on sunlight, water level and wind direction.

When viewed from one vantage point the pool looks all bright lemon color. 

Viewed from a different position the red colors show up . 

From this angle you are able to see the Yellow and Red colors. This is entirely dependent on the mineral interaction, combination of location and sun position. 

The embankment surrounding the pool has a long and violent history having been created by a huge eruption about 1800 years ago. 

This crater is by far the the most fascinating item on the tour. This pool as you can see from the photo has a singular consistent color. This color again changes according to the day. During my visit it was green. The water is calm and absolutely still, creating the illusion of  being a green glass top. 

The "Lady Knox Geyser" is a favorite attraction in the reserve. If you have not seen a geyser before don't miss this station. 

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