There is one main thing you can find lying underneath New Zealand soil, and that is volcanic activity. It is ever-present and just one of those things that Kiwis accept as a part of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, they are not living amongst eruptions and lava rivers, but they ceirtanly know their fair share of volcano-induced earthquakes.
Of course earthquakes are not the only thing that volcanos bring along. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Wai-O-Tapu, the thermal park that can be found in the North Island, halfway between Taupo and Rotorua. The park is called a “thermal wonderland” because visitors can take a look at craters, lakes and rock formations that have been both shaped and coloured by volcanic and underground activity. And the sight won’t disappoint.
Really, it won’t…
|The yellow colour of this lake is caused by high amounts of sulfur concentrated in the water.|
Wai-O-Tapu means “sacred waters” and is granted special importance by the Maori people of the surrounding area. This is due to the fact that the minerals produced by volcanic activity are nutritious to the soil, which makes it fertile and therefore, people that live in this area can harvest crops and vegetables.
The thermal park is also a fantastic way to get in your daily workout, since it has three possible trails to follow, the shortest of which takes 30 minutes to complete
|Map of Wai-O-Tapu thermal park. Source: http://waiotapu.co.nz/attractions/thermal-area/|
The one thing you have to mentally prepare yourself for is the incesant and inevitable smell of “rotten eggs” that sulfur produces. But I mean, when the attractions of the park have names like “the Devil’s Home” or the “Inferno Crater”, the smell has to live up to the name. And it does. Trust me.
Another piece of advice that is pretty straight forward and simple: general admission to the park is $35 dollars. Don’t forget your wallet…with money in it.
Enjoy your visit to the thermal wonderland!