Somewhat smelly, rather steamy, but very pretty...

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 12, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, March 20, 2009

We left Rotorua rather early in the morning to get to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland on time. Every day at 10.15 the Lady Knox Geyser is (forced to) erupt by a park employee who chucks in a soap-like substance that aggitates the geyser enough for it to do its thing.
It is quite an impressive spectacle to witness so close up and the knowledge that it is less of a natural occurance doesn't lessen the experience...

After seeing the geyser we went into the main park area where many different chemicals bubble up to the surface and give the area its unusual texture and colours. Sulphur for yellow, iron oxide for red, manganese oxide for purple and so forth. For instance, a bit of water that LOOKS beautifully blue is in fact not very clean at all as its colour is caused by the chemicals so abundant everywhere.

To compensate for the lack of pictures of White Island (for obvious reasons (read the previous entry if you don't know :P)), we now went overboard at Wai-O-Tapu. And, after we noticed that an area that at first glance LOOKS drab and grey has in fact a lot of colourful details, we both went hunting for all the interesting and intriguing little things in this quite elaborate park.

Just outside the main park there is a mud pool that, eventhough it is all grey and drab in colour, is actually rather entertaining and mesmerizing to observe. Since the pressure slowly builds up underneath this fairly thick mud, it doesn't just bubble but more explodes suddenly with mud flying in all directions. We spent a fair bit of time there as we wanted some pictures of the mini mud-explosions that happened at random intervals. It seems Martijn is twitchy enough to snap the pictures of the mud flying in mid air as he definitely was the more succesful mud-photographer. Yet another quality he can put on his resumé ;).

After this stop-over we drove onwards and made a quick stop to view the Huka Falls. There are tours you can take there that take you real close to the falls, but we opted for just viewing it from the shore. And as blue and pretty as it was, it was also a rather small waterfall in height and didn't impress us all that much. The Huka Falls ARE impressive due to its sheer amount of water going over the edge, but the Whangarei Falls are much prettier in our opinion.
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bluejeans on

Huka Falls
so you didnt join the ranks of maniacs who thought it would be interesting to seal themselves into a barrel and be chucked over the Huka Falls then ? (sounds a tad like LOTR :))

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