...a good sort of rotten.
11.03.2011 - 12.03.2011 23 °C
This fine NZ morning brings us to the Tarawera Falls just outside of Rotorua to gaze upon a very unique waterfall. We seem to have waterfallitis as we are sick of them and the draw we once had to them has diminished. However, Julie promises that Tarawera Falls will rekindle the lost love. After a long drive through a managed pine forest, we enter into the nature reserve and spectacular native bush once again. Within minutes of starting down the track to the falls a dull roar turns thunderous and we emerge to a clear view of the culprit. Water is blasting out of a huge crack in the shear cliff face, a very interesting phenomenon. We continue along the path to the top of the falls, where the river funnels into large crevices in the rock and disappears before shooting out of the cliff face.
From the impressive Tarawera Falls we end up at the rotten egg smelling town of Rotorua to explore Kuirua Park. The free thermal park in the centre of town is home to a few bubbling hot pools and steam vents. Nothing too exciting but worth strolling through and pondering about what is really happening below ground.
We drive to the south end of town to reflect within St. Faith's Anglican Church on the crazy things happening in Christchurch. Sitting in a pew we gaze through a glass window, which is etched with an image of Jesus wearing a Maori cloak. On the outside of the window is Lake Rotorua making Jesus look as if he walking on water, we have giggle before moving on.
Further south of town, Julie spots a sign post directing us to “Mud Pools” so we investigate further. The sight and sound of gurgling thick grey mud is very impressive to watch. It is almost mesmerizing watching the unique designs being created in the mud. From here we stop at another thermal highlight, Kerosene Creek. The stream is roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit and it takes a bit of time to slip our feet in. A little further downstream the hot water stream mixes with a cold water stream making the perfect spot for us to soak.
It is getting late in the day, so we pull into the DOC campground at Lake Rerewhakaaitu. We have an awesome view of the lake and are looking forward waking up to sunrise over it. But its not long before six huge camper vans squeeze between us and the Lake, creating a wall of white. We sit in the car to eat dinner imaging a lovely mural painted across this empty white canvas. While listening to the radio we hear about an earthquake offshore of Japan and the incoming tsunami. The radio warns listeners to stay off beaches around NZ as a precaution. Luckily we are no where near the ocean and have nothing to worry about. We fall asleep with excitement about what tomorrow will bring at Waio-tapu Thermal Wonderland.
We arrive at Waio-tapu Thermal Wonderland bright and early to avoid the crowds that will soon take over. There is a heavy fog as we stroll past some pools of black bubbling water, caves colourfully stained with minerals, and pools of bright green water. At 10am we rush to Lady Knox Geyser to witness the daily eruption. It's kind of chintzy, since the geyser doesn't erupt naturally but is prompted by an “biodegradable surfactant” or organic soap which is added by a park ranger. This surfactant breaks through the surface tension of the cold water which is sitting on top of the hot water leading to its eruption. Once the geyser is finished spewing all over the crowd, we continue along the trail to some amazing pools. The Champagne Pool is lined with a rusty red boarder with steam slowly rising off the surface. The natural colours around the park are so vibrant and each colour is caused by different mineral elements being brought to the surface by steam.
From the Wonderland, we relax by Lake Rotorua over our picnic lunch before heading south to Ohinepane Campground. Ohinepane is located on the Whanganui River but further upstream from where we started our canoe adventure back in mid-February. After relaxing by the river with my fishing pole, we watch a strange sunset-rainbow. What does it mean?