With an unexpected, unplanned day ahead of us due to bad weather at the Tongariro Crossing (see earlier post), we discussed our options with our B&B hosts Peter and Grace who enthusiastically informed us of nearby Waimangu Volcanic Valley located near Rotorua.
Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley is the hydrothermal system created on 10 June 1886 by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera, on the North Island of New Zealand. It encompasses Lake Rotomahana, the former site of the Pink and White Terraces. It was the location of the Waimangu Geyser, which was active from 1901 to 1904. The valley contains Frying Pan Lake, which is the largest hot spring in the world. – Wikipedia
The world’s youngest geothermal system and the “must-do” tourist attraction in the area, Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley is definitely a thrill to see. There are tons of tour agents offering daily visits to the area but of course Paul and I wanted to do it on our own and chose the best way to see the area: A hike.
We drove first to the town of Rotorua, whose abundant thermal activity makes the entire place smell like rotten eggs! (Perhaps you get used to it when you live there!). The town was way too touristy for my liking yet it was indeed fascinating. Our stay was short, however, as we wanted to get a hike in and knew that most of the tourists would not be following us.
We followed the trailhead for a short hour and a half hike up and back. There was not a soul around, the way I like to hike and the views were impressive.
Start of the hike.
Hot steamy water. Wouldn’t want t take a swim in there!
Interesting greenery given the location!
View at the top of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley.
The park proved to be a great day hike. It was my first visit to a geothermal valley and I was amazed by the lava lakes, hot volcanic streams and the unique curiosities the place.
As the afternoon skies began to clear we wished we had one more day in the area to do the Tongariro Crossing. That night we saw it, finally, while we were eating dinner at a restaurant in Taupo. We took a sip of our cold beer and thought…next time.
Here it is, the Tongariro Crossing in the background.
Stay tuned…one last post perhaps on New Zealand. Then I’m off on a new subject if time permits before heading off to Guatemala on March 3rd. This time I will remember to take loads of pictures! 🙂