"I'm just giving Mother Nature a helping hand."

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today we were heading to the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland... with a name like that it had to be good! At this 'wonderland' they have a huge collection of geothermal pools and reserves, as well as one of only two geysers in the region. We were told that the geyser explodes everyday at 10:15am, so we headed off early to get there. On the way Tom and I had a little debate about how something natural like a geyser could be guaranted to go off at the same time everyday. Tom, being his ever cynical self, decided that there would be a big button on the side that they would press and that it would send a huge rush of water up the geyser and out of the top. I, firmly believing that Mother Nature can take care of herself, argued that the tides and magnetic pull of the earth would regulate the geyser and make it explode at the same time everyday. Well I hate to admit it but Tom was right, they dropped three packets of carbonated soap into the geyser and it bubbled up like a fizzy drink and started spurting everywhere. It was still really good though and as the guy in charge told us they were "just giving Mother Nature a helping hand".
Once we got into the actual park we stayed for about 3 hours looking at all the pools, caves and waterfalls. Just like Rotorua, the park is located in a huge area of geothermal activity and the water underground is heated by volcanic rocks so it comes bubbling out of the ground and is full of sulpher. All of the water and earth in the pools is discoloured by the chemical and nutrients underground so that we saw pools of water of the most amazing colours. There were yellow caves, opal green pools, tangerine orange trees (where the sulpher in the air has turned the algae on the trees orange), pastel pink streams, pea-green lakes and a huge crater filled with water that looked like lemon and lime soup. Most of the park had boardwalks which you had to walk on but in some parts you could walk on rocks and above the water. As we were walking alongside one of the streams I saw a girl bend down, stick her finger in the yellowy green water and then lick her finger. Considering the strong smell of sulpher which was coming from the water, I thought it was one of the craziest things I've ever seen anyone do and I half expected her to drop dead in front of me! Luckily she didn't but I would bet my last pound that she had the belly ache of a lifetime later that day!

Once we had finished at Wai-O-Tapu we headed down the road to try and find a place called Kerosene Creek which we had read about in our guidebook. It is supposedly a thermally heated creek which you can go swimming in but when we finally found it the site was really over-grown and smelled really strongly of sulpher so we decided not to go swimming after all. So we went back into town and went online to book our ferry from the North Island to the South at the start of next week. After a little mishap, where Tom screwed up and gave them the wrong email address, meaning we couldn't access our e-tickets and he had to phone them up and grovel to get them to amend and resend the tickets, we were booked onto our ferry. We are really lookingforward to getting to the South Island because everyone we have spoken to has told us that the North has nothing on the South Island.

Later we headed back to the backpackers site where we were staying and were suprised to see a coach of school kids were staying the night. They were all in the kitchen and dining area while we were cooking our tea and we ended up having a chat with the teachers. The kids had been learning about volcanoes and had made their own hockey pockey (honeycomb) and they had been waiting all day to eat it. After they had eaten their hot dogs they were allowed to tuck into to their hockey pockey, however it must have tasted pretty awful because most of the kids were dropping it into the bin on the way out. We spent the rest of the night in the TV room and doing some laundry. Unluckily for me the timer on the tumble dryer was broken and we didn't realise this until our clothes had been in there for nearly 2 hours... all our clothes were fine apart from my pyjamas which have shruken to the size of a 6 year old!     
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lisa on

have u managed to grab some random people to take your pics.... make sure they don' t run off with your camera.... then again they will only run into some old geezer or should i say geysers !!!

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