Trip Start Jul 29, 2009
Trip End Jan 23, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, January 11, 2010

After some long showers and a few couples of warm tomato soup in Waitomo, we got back on the road to get up to Roturua. The Maori culture is much more prevalent here on the north island, especially here in Roturua. We spent our first full day here at the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. It consisted of a 4 km walk through sulfur lakes, lava flows, and extinct geyser fields. The park contained the world's largest geyser in the early 1900s until a recent eruption that changed the face of the volcano that can be seen today. We also saw the world's largest hot spring lake and some other lakes that were amazing emerald blue colors with boiling water. We also saw the remnants of the Pink and White Terraces, which were the 8th (of the 7) Wonder of the World, but were destroyed by a more recent eruption in 1886. Epic!
The next day, we got up early to go to the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and see the geyser that erupts at 10:15 every morning. It was not the most naturally timed geyser that we have ever seen because at about 10:14 the ranger came out and dumped some biodegradable soap down the spout to make it erupt. Apparently the geyser doesn't erupt as faithfully as Old Faithful, so it needs a little bit of assistance from the rangers so tourists can enjoy the eruption. After we finished there, we walked for about 2 hours through the park and saw a variety of thermal pools, waterfalls, lakes, and bubbling mud pits. The area is very similar to Yellowstone, but on a much smaller scale. 
Tomorrow we are getting up and driving back to Auckland to spend one night and then we are off to Fiji for 8 days. Then back home!!
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