Friday, April 2, 2010

Orakei Korako- NZ

I grew up just north of Taupo, on Tutukau rd. We had a farm there and I have many a happy memory from that time. About 5 minutes away from our farm is one of New Zealand's best thermal areas- Orakei Korako.

It isn't very well known, but it does make it onto AA's 101 Must Do's for New Zealand. So I guess it will become more well known...
I wanted to go back there as I had memories of it as a child. We were also doing a few touristy things while in NZ for this holiday. Jason and I visited Orakei Korako with Jason's godson James and James' parents- Lorry and Nicci.

Orakei Korako means "The Place of Adorning" and the natural colours and landscapes are stunning. There are 35 active geysers, bubbling hot springs, boiling mud pools, and one of the world's largest silica terraces. There’s also a lovely bush walk that ends up at the sacred Ruatapu Cave (one of two geothermal caves known to exist) where we descended to an incredible thermal mirror pool.

This is the first sight of the geothermal wonderland... across the lake. The terraces that you see in the middle have over 20 million litres of boiling water flowing over it every day. It makes the lake a nice temperature!

You have to take the Boat across for access into the geothermal area. Here's Jason just waiting for our turn.And here's James getting all excited about the Boat. It was his first time on a boat.When we arrived on the other side we were treated with some amazing natural sights (and smells from the sulphur). This is where the boiling water flows over...the sulphur makes for some stunning colours... even if it is a bit smelly!

Just as we arrived the geyser erupted and we were treated to an amazing steam show.
It was so hot over this side of the lake, approximately 5-6 degrees warmer than the other side. This is from all the geothermal activity.

We couldn't miss the opportunity for our signature shot... this is made considerably harder with the new camera lens as it is substantially heavier than our old lens!!!
More steam from the geyser...

After the steam show we wandered up to the look out and we were greeted with this message:More amazing colours from the silica terraces and sulphur:
Apparently the shape is of a map of africa... none of us could really make it out though. My excuse is my appalling knowledge of geography. Jason is great at geography though and even he couldn't see it.
Here's some weed that can withstand the boiling water...
Some more of the active geysers...
Following an amazing bush walk we end up at the sacred Ruatapu Cave (one of two geothermal caves known to exist) where we descended to an incredible thermal mirror pool.
It was quite a descent but it was worth it. This cave was what I could remember from my childhood. Some more of the active geysers.
And finally the bubbling mud pools.... I love them. This pool one was bubbling away just inside a cave as well and the sound was amazing!

Here's the map of Africa from above... can anyone make it out???
After our walk around we had a picnic on the main side of the lake and helped some Canadian tourist jump start their car. All in all it was a great day... For more information see the Orakei Korako website.

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