Bubbling mud pools – Thursday 2nd February 2012


I guess it is hard to follow such an exciting day and come back down to earth! This morning seemed flat even though we still had several places we wished to visit, we couldn’t seem to settle on which to start with.
When John’s computer virus update failed and the system crashed, it simply added to our negativity. In our effort to fix the bug, we missed the opportunity to witness the 10.15 geyser where they put washing powder down to force an eruption every day at Wai-o-tapu.
So it got to lunch time and we still had not made our move. There are many free geothermal sites in the area, and we felt we could search for these.
Our first was The Mud Pool by Wai-o-tapu and was brilliant and free.
A lake of pale grey mud bubbling just beyond the road. In places it was as I expected, gentle heavy bubbles slopping over each other to form concentric circles. Actually it proved quite hard to capture the dome of the bubble on camera. But much of the lake was far more explosive. Mud spurted up to 1 meter high, erratic and dynamic.
The quantity of steam, the monochrome grey and the noise fascinated us. We took continuous shots as well as video footage in our effort to capture this phenomenon. We also deleted a whole load of rubbish shots! As I am using my IPad to upload this blog I am finding it hard to edit video and upload it so I will share our still photos.

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Then we took ourselves on a rather frustrating goose chase, to track down places of geothermal interest as indicated by the map. Many of these were very small and often inaccessible but it was curious to see steam escaping between ferns, or in the middle of forests. Finally we found boiling water cascading out of the ground at a terrific rate. This had been harness to fill series of pools which you could enjoy for $14 a head. For us the manmade element detracted from the wonder of the natural phenomenon at Waikite Valley.

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Kerosene Creek was totally different: so green it seemed a haven, hidden behind scrub off a semi-made road. Filled at the back of the pool and gently steaming in places, it was the temperature of a hot bath. The water was full of a soft green algae and very beautiful.

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In the evening we went to the Te Maki cultural show, and it was great fun. It truly brought a smile to our faces! A mix of education about Maori culture, drama to re-enact the greeting, drama, song, Haka and a delicious hangi, which did actually remind me strongly of a good Sunday lunch in England. I lost count of the times we said Kia-Ora.

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