Great Travel Experiences the North Island - 4

This incredibly fascinating geothermal cauldron was the highlight of our North Island trip. It's just 25 minutes from Rotorua on the road to Lake Taupo, so if you're travelling from Rotorua to Napier on the East Coast or heading for the Tongariro Crossing, you can stop by for brief visit. And we suggest you do, to enjoy the geysers, the boiling mud, the springs and the sheer beauty of Waimangu.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Here are the basic facts about Waimangu Volcanic Valley.

•• This geothermal ecosystem was created by the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera that buried the ‘8th Wonder of the World’, the Pink and White Terraces. 

• • Within 15 years of the Tarawera eruption, the hot springs of the Waimangu geothermal system (which today reach temperatures between 110 F. and 132 F. degrees) were established.

• • Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a wildlife refuge and home to large numbers of birds all year round.

What these basic facts don't convey is the sheer beauty of this incredible cauldron of heat, mist, steam, boiling mud, geysers, native forest birds and bubbling lakes. 

We took the Walking Tour option that took us on an ecology-focused adventure. As we walked through the youngest eco-systems in the world we were in awe of the geothermal activity, native plants and bird-life.

At any stage of the walk you can take a regular courtesy shuttle bus, which regularly circles the valley, back to the starting point at the Waimangu Visitor Centre. 

There are many walks of different durations, mainly downhill, to choose from. You'll see Echo Crater, and Frying Pan Lake, the world's largest hot water spring. Also, the mysterious and dramatic Inferno Crater and its beautiful blue hot lake that will take your breath away. You'll will see newly forming silica terraces and rare and unusual thermal plants.

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Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Dec 22, 2016