13 March 2018, Tuesday.
We set off a little early to Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It is nice green grassland along the way.
Deep blue sky with green pastures….and a lot of cattle… felt like driving in postcard scenery.
It took us less than an hour to reach Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Entered the visitor center, we were a little surprised to see Chinese style decorations. Looked like they have a lot of Chinese tourists.
A little introduction to the volcanic zone. There are altogether 3 attractions site in this area (Geothermal Park, Lady Knox Geyser and Mud Pool)
Entering Geothermal Park…. stroll along this steamy river, volcanic scents in the air !
It all started with this little crater and its sulfur wall….
A stone throw away is Rainbow Crater….
Try to zoom in and check for rainbow….I had to imagine there is one ! (Well…. the angle of sunlight was not correct when we were there)
A giant sunken Hole called Thunder Crater…It looked like ground on surface had fallen into an empty space below…. and it make me wonder how much empty space is below this thermal park !
An area brightened up with beaming sunlight.
Closing in on Devil Ink Pot…. and we could see the boiling ink (oil and graphite… ingredient people used to make ink many years ago)
Picture with Devils Ink Pot.
It got more colorful as we moved on.
It is a wide stretch of colored water with this Quiet corner
and a Steamy end…
Looking down from higher ground…a panoramic view.
Colors are more intense…Spectacular !
Our pictures at Artist’s Palette.
Broadway is the wooden Path bridging to Champagne pool.
Picture on Broadway…
Broadway Modeling ….
End of the walkway …. we were at Champagne Pool.
Mineral deposit along the edge of Champagne Pool….at some zone the hot water was above the walkway.
Wonderful orange colored deposit along the edge, stands out against the greenish water.
A little video show the moving shadow of steam that was swept by the wind. This kind of video shoot was used by some movie company (of course at professional level)
Our Pictures at Champagne Pool
A little forested walk besides the Champagne Pool.
There are a number of Maori art pieces along the way…
and giant reptile
At the summit of the forested walk… Panoramic View of Frying Pan Flat and Lake Ngakoro at far background.
Standing above Frying Pan Flat.
Towards Lake Ngakoro.
A long flight of steps down to the Lake….
where the walkway ended.
Close up on Lake Ngakoro.
Frying Pan Flat
The area consist of flat white gravel and sand with shallow flowing water.
On some forested edge, organic trace stained the earth.
A video clip on Frying Pan Flat.
Notice the steamy pond at the far end of the plain… that is the Oyster pool.
Our pictures at Frying Pan Flat.
A yellow loop path leaded us pass sulphur cave
to a region comprising of slow flowing sulphur and silt.
Banked by rough cliff wall….with occasional zone stained by sulphur deposit. I have been wondering why elemental sulphur deposit, why not sulphate or other anion ?
Close in on silt deposit.
These are very light silt carried by extremely low flowing water. Each time some particle settle, it becomes a front where the subsequent silt continue to pile up. Very interesting phenomenon. (Probably these are pumice powder that were used in some electronic industry)
On the returned path….Back to Broadway and Champagne pool. The area is a little quiet in the afternoon.
Still water Next to Champagne Pool
Taking picture of Artist’s Palette from this angle.
Departing Champagne pool, it was uphill and there are few other craters. Wonder why this is called Birds Nest Crater ?
And yet another Sulphur cave
Probably the hottest crater in the park…
The grand finale before the exit…
Exit from Geothermal park…. We headed to Lady Knox Geyser. When we arrived in the morning about 1010 hrs, the staff had repeatedly told us the eruption time is around 10.15 am daily. I asked if it is natural eruption or induced. The staff told us it is natural.
(Volcanic activities are earthly and has no relation to the day and night timing. If it repeatedly erupt at fixed time daily, then scientist should come here to perform complete study. We gave it a miss in the morning as it would be too rush for us. At this point of writing, it was certain staff had induced the eruption at fixed time everyday)
Arrival @ Lady Knox Geyser.
Zoom in on the smoky vent hole.
Picture with Lady Knox.
We moved on to the last attraction in this area – Mud Pool.
Science of Mud ?
We spend sometime watching the bubbling mud… I thought this was a relatively rare observation.
After the very enjoyable Geothermal Park, we headed for Waikite Valley Thermal Pool. Arrived at Pool Complex.
Hot spring water channel…. flowing towards the pool complex.
Top view of the water channel.
The main pool / settler Pool.
We paid for the admission fee, washed up and exploring the Pergola Pool. (resemble Japanese onsen). With a little cool wind, it feel exceptional good.
Relax in the Garden pool…. life is simply too good here.
Soak Pool is the hottest pool in the complex….suitable for short dip only.
After the wonderful warm dip at Waikite Valley Thermal Pool, we headed to Rotoroa EAT Street. 1700 hrs…. the street was a little quiet.
This manager shared with us their delicious stuff.
Soup and main course…
And my lovely side order and desert…
After the sumptuous dinner… we were on winding roads toward Tauranga Huntington House. It was almost 2000 hrs when we arrive at Huntington. Very lovely unit…. we thought we were very lucky to make this booking.
Dinning area and Guest Hall
The living room…
and Our bedroom.
End of Day 4 : We had wonderful time at Wai-o-tapu Geothermal park and Waikite Valley Thermal pool. We enjoyed every moment of the time spend there. After sumptuous dinner, we landed in the spotless, elegant and very comfortable Huntington House.
Return to : NZ North Island Day 3.
Continue to : NZ North Island Day 5.