Wai-O-Tapu - Geothermal Wonderland Rotorua Reviews
Rotorua Aug 25, 2008
So I am new to this but i'll try my best lol.
anyway, Rotorua is probably one of New Zealands biggest tourist attractions, and deservedly so.... I should know i've been there 5 times ( as a tourist) lol.
I'd reccomend going in the winter if you plan to go....it's nice to sit in the hot pools while its raining and cold etc.
while there you will see heaps of places promoting "thermals" etc. dont be fooled!.
1. geysers spring up all around rotorua so rest assured werever you stay, the hot baths wil be geothermal.
2. the only real place that you should fork out money for is Wai-o-tapu, or whakarewarewa, as it was formerly known. The pohutu geysur is here and heaps of mud pools etc, very wonderfull. Another good place is "craters of the moon", its less expensive and quite good.
3. besides these two places I would not pay for the other "geothermal sites" they are inferior and offer nothing that the afforementioned doesnt.
4. In the middle of Roturua is a free geothermal park, which is pretty good, considering its free.
I'd say that pretty much covers it lolol. ask me if you want to know anything else lolol.
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Oct 20, 2007
Wai-O-Tapu... or in English "Sacred Waters". Wai-O-Tapu is a massive geothermic area that is open to the public to explore (at a fee of course). It is advertised as "a wonderland of stunning geothermal activity". And for the first time visit, it could be just that.
Wai-O-Tapu was my first experience seeing any sort of geothermal activity. Now-a-days bubbling pools, geysers, and that sulfur smell make me yawn, but for a first time experience you can't beat Wai-O-Tapu.
Wai-O-Tapu houses the widest variety of geothermal activity in a single area (from my experience). In other countries you may find a geyser here, a hot pool there, a mud pit somewhere else. Wai-O-Tapu has it all in one place. But don't get any ideas of bringing your bathing suit. Most of the water in the park is hot enough to burn you instantaneously (and there are plenty of signs to remind you of that).
The most famous sites of Wai-O-Tapu include: the Lady Knox Geyser, the mud pools, and the Champagne Pool.
The Lady Knox Geyser goes off daily at 10:15 AM and reaches heights of 20 meters. Arrive early to get your vantage point from the small man made amphitheater. You should be there no later than 10:00 AM to make sure you hear the park authority's introductions. The geyser doesn't naturally go off at 10:15 AM, instead a park authority will show up, give you some history about the geyser and will pour some soap into the top of the geyser to make it go off. The geyser can errupt naturally on its own, but it would not do so on a regular basis, making witnessing its eruption nearly impossible.
The mud pools are... well.. bubbling mud pools. This site can be hit or miss. Depending on the fluidity of the mud, you might see some amazing patterns in the mud, or you might see nothing at all. Check out the Wai-O-Tapu website for some amazing photographs. Unfortunately, the day I went wasn't too spectacular.
The Champagne Pool is best known for its bright red/orange rim and constant bubbling (as a result of carbon dioxide being released). The water remains at a steamy 74 degess Celsius and contains traces of gold, silver, mercury, arsenic and antimony. It runs about 64 meters in diameter and 62 meters deep.
The sulfur smell can be bad, but no worse than Rotorua itself. If you are concerned about it or highly sensitive, pack some Vicks Vapor Rub and put some in/under your nose.
The sites at Wai-O-Tapu are probably some of the most colorful geothermal areas in the world. But the weather, specifically the light, will have a dramatic impact on just how colorful your experience will be. Unfortunately, I went on an overcast day. And while I enjoyed my time at the park, the grey of the sky did little to pronouce the colors of the pools and caverns. You can google the internet for photographs of Wai-O-Tapu you'll see a noticable difference on just what sunlight will do for your photos!
The cost is about $27.50 (New Zealand). You can tour the park at your leisure, so there is no rush. Most accomodations can arrange transportation for you. Most will also allow you the option to extend the trip to Waimangu (a less active area, but still an enjoyable stroll).
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