Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
I can honestly say I have never seen anything (or smelt anything) like it. This place looks like something you’d expect to see on Mars, or at least in a science fiction film. The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua is a walking trail full of thermal pools, bubbling geysers and the smelliest gasses you can imagine, it’s a place with sights I will never forget.
As described in the guide map, the park is ‘literally covered with collapsed craters, cold and boiling pools of mud, water and steaming fumaroles.’ Magma has been left behind after volcanic eruptions and it is this that heats the water and the streams. They have recorded temperatures up to 300 degrees celsius! The minerals from the surrounding rocks create different colours in the pools and different, unpleasant smells. We took a 75 minute walk around the grounds, taking in all the craters, pools, geysers and caves as we strolled.
The famous pools include Devil’s Bath and Champagne Pool (the money shot). The Champagne Pool is the largest in the park, 65m in diameter. The bubbles rising from underneath are the reason for the name. But at 74 degrees celsius, it’s a tad bit warmer than your usual Champagne. This water here includes minerals such as gold and silver, mercury, sulphur and arsenic, as well as others only scientists would know. The reason for the different ledges in pool are due to earthquakes that have forced the pool to tilt. We couldn’t see the whole of the pool as the steam rising from it was so thick, it was like a foggy day in Britain. The colours were so vibrant here and throughout the park, that’s why one pool is named the Artist’s Palette. A kaleidoscope of earthy colours bubble and rise from underground, it was like walking through a painting.
Devil’s Bath is another famous site of the park. Like a lime flavoured Starbust, the pool here is a bright lime green. The colour of this pool is so strong that it reflects against the grey stone that encompasses it. This crater takes on excess water from the Champagne Pool, but the water here is mixed with sulphur and ferrous salts, that creates the green colour. With grey stone and evergreen trees circling the pool, this is a ridiculously amazing view.
I’m going to stop writing about how crazy this place is and start showing you guys instead. Thanks to Pete, we have some pretty stunning images to show you. Enjoy!