Rotorua – the mystical landscape.

Rotorua is a small rural town on the North Island of NZ. This place is about 3 hours drive from Auckland, and it is a very famous tourist place. The main attractions are volcanic and geothermal pools, and the beauty of the region is unbelievable.  The moment you open a car door in Rotorua, your nose is assaulted with very strong sulfur smell. And the smell is everywhere: inside and outside. I got used to it pretty quickly and it did not really bother me at all during my stay.

In 1886, a series of small earthquakes provoked an eruption from Mt. Tarawera. The sound could be heard from as far as 300km and ash clouds could be seen from Christchurch, which is more than 800km away. Many people died and the natural wonder of Pink Terraces was destroyed. But as a result from that seismic activity we inherited a new landscape and its unbelievable natural beauty.

 

 

As I mentioned before the roads in NZ are extremely good and also very beautiful. So, the hour in which I needed to get to the volcanic site passed in a flash.

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Beautiful lakes are around every corner.

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Closer to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland the area became more hilly.

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NZ is famous for its countless sheep, but did you know that they have probably as many cows? While waiting for this huge herd to cross the road, the memories from India just flooded my mind.

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The next morning, I was in a hurry to make it to the Lady Knox Geyser’s eruption. It’s always on time, never been late or early, always at 10.30 am. Apparently, the rangers added a bit of detergent to make the eruption more spectacular, but the Geyser did not need any help.

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I had to ask someone to take my photo. That guy was an even worse photographer than me. But I was not the star of this picture, the Geyser was.

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And after this thunderous performance from Mother Earth, I went to explore the area. And my God, it was stunning!!

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There is some resemblance to an elephant head, especially if one stood close to it. Unfortunately, the photo did not show all the details.

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On the opposite site of Lake Ohakuri, there is Orakei Korako, which means The Hidden Valley. The most amazing thing about this geothermal site is the variety of colours, of course. There are so many different combinations and shades. And it all happened because of the volcanic activity in Rotorua.

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On the open plains there was a large white terrace, which looked like a freshly shorn sheep’s wool.  The locals decided to call it The Golden Fleece, like in Greek mythology. And the resemblance is amazing.

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Not far away was Map of Africa. The shape really very closely reminded me of the continent.

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The panoramic views of  Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley are absolutely spectacular.

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How about this lake? So pretty.

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There was steam and mist from the hot springs everywhere. There were literally hundreds of them, large and small.

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This is a close up of the same place.

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The name of this lake was very creative – the Frying Pan Lake. When looking at it from above, it’s almost round in shape. And in one corner of the lake with precise regularity one geyser was blowing steam with quite a loud thunder.

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When the sky is the same blue as the lake….

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Some of the lakes and springs are very hot. In this case a sign like this would be strategically posted in a few locations. I thought it was rather cute and straight to the point. Isn’t it right that a picture is worth a thousand words?

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Down below there was a public swimming pool. The natural springs supplied mineral water to the pool and spas, and many local people were enjoying the experience. I could not join them because of a lack of time, but I was very envious.

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These buddhist monks were pointing to the Champaigne Lake. The colours come from the arsenic and sulfide sediments on the bottom of the lake. And the constantly rising tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide create this “champagne effect”.

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Chemicals in the water are very harmful to the vegetation. During a flood, contaminated water had spread and caused the death of these trees. However, some algae and microorganisms found this environment very favourable, therefore these red and green blotches on the surface.

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Very earie feeling during this part of the track.

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I met this bird’s family on the footpath just in front of me. The mother immediately ushered their chicks in the bush and followed them, while the father nervously watched me.

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This is a beautiful landscape.

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Some of the photos are not sharp because of the steam (like this one, for example).

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The Rainbow and Cascade Terrace. Silica deposits on the surface of the rocks make this scenery totally unreal with a wild combination of colours.

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This place is called Devils Bath.  It was a crater of the volcano, which filled with overflowing water from the Champagne Lake through the underground system.

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When water from the lake mixed with sulphur and ferrous salts on the surface of the crater, it resulted in this surreal colour.

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Deeper in the rainforest there were lots of small and large mud pools. They were constantly bubbling and making popping sounds. All of the pools and puddles were a perfect round shape. And the smell of the sulphur was overpowering here. Scientific research has indicated that this mud has some outstanding properties for treating certain skin diseases and for providing a youthful appearance. Guess what? I could not resist and stocked up on those products. Let’s wait and see if I look like a schoolgirl again. 🙂

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At the craters of Rainbow Mountain.

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I wanted to touch those shiny patches on the surface, but was too scared of all the warnings around.

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More

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And more

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I liked this word game – very creative. This toilet block was near an information centre and water taxi on the shore of Lake Ohakuri.

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NZ is an amazing country and it has so much to offer. Both North and South Islands are very different from each other. And both are totally beautiful. I would highly recommend a visit to this country. I really love it.

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