Rotorua and some hot Thermal Action
On Sunday of Labour Day weekend Andrew and I took our adventures to Rotorua. A town known for the most dynamic thermal action in New Zealand. It also smells of sulphur, everywhere. For those of you unfamiliar, that smell would be akin to rotten eggs. MMMmm.
Not deterred by some smelly fumes, we headed towards the Whakarewarewa Thermal Villages early. The weather predicted rain and overcast skies, so we brought our umbrellas. First things first, Andrew and I wanted to check out the boiling mud. That’s right, mud,
that is boiling. While very cool, it was exceedingly difficult to capture in a picture. It was intimidating, to be sure. Goop-y, thick and sputtering the sounds of the mud bubbling up and spurting was exactly as to be expected. I predict if I ever made a movie, the bad guy would drown in a boiling mud pool. Gruesome!
Afterwards, we wandered through steaming hot springs. The grounds were both majestic and eerie. Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out why LOTR didn’t film the dead marshes here. The steam and smells were overwhelming at times. There were so many pools. Some were crystal clear, others bright blue, tan or grey. It was amazing that there were so many different kinds of pools and phenomena occurring in one area.
There were several paths throughout the village along which Andrew and I wandered. There are Maori people still living in tiny houses all over the village. The houses were vinyl siding 1-2 room houses. They looked very run down and there were dogs, laundry, and tires all over the place. Since they were occupied, I decided not to take any photos.
I’ll write more about the Maori culture in another post, but let’s get back to the thermal activity.
On the outskirts of the village are the Pohutu and Prince of Wales’ Feathers geysers. The Prince of Wales’ Feathers was spouting up a geyser several meters high and the mist looked like feathers. The Pohutu on the other, which goes off about once an hour was about 3o meters high when we saw it. Without a reference and with overcast skies, the photo’s don’t even begin to convey it. I’ve never been to see Old Faithful (which averages about 40 m high) in the United States so I cannot compare them, but the geyser was pretty darn impressive.
All around town you could see the steam from the springs. It is dangerous to go into, as they can get up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit! But there were some spots where they funneled the hot spring into bathing areas. It was wet enough outside for us so we decided to pass, but for anyone interested in a natural hot tub, Rotorua should be your destination and we passed many spas in the area.
There are parks and even some of the sewers had steam rising from them and smelled even stronger of sulphur, but the views were worth it!