Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a short drive from Rotorua and costs $34.50 to walk through. The entire valley was created by a volcanic eruption in 1886. Mount Tarawera destroyed the surrounding area and opened up a 17km rift, splitting itself in two. There are 7 craters in the valley and each is different.
But the area is so young in geothermal terms, it is still evolving. Within 15 years of the original eruption, hot springs were established and just 30 years after the devastating explosion, plant life had returned. There were further eruptions and huge geysers which existed for just a few years before blowing themselves out. The most recent activity was 1973!
There, that’s the guide book!
As you walk through the valley floor, descending to the lake created by the blast, you witness a wide variety of micro-climates. I could not believe how acid the crater lakes were here. 2.5-2.8!
Once again we were struck by the weird beauty. The colours were incredible. Some places gold and green; others pure brilliant pale blue in a white silica basin, and an eerie mist rose of the waters of the huge lake.
Again we could not believe when all the people were! The car park seemed full, the cafe was reasonably busy but not many walkers! Those we saw scampered on, whilst we marveled at these unique wonders.
It was a simply beautiful, natural park, full of amazing sights.
Strange thing: this evening a girl I met 5 years ago in China emailed to say she had a friend living in NZ. Happens to be just where we are headed next. Most amazing, I have just booked a dreadful backpackers in penance for paying so much on helicopters etc. but the reviews are dreadful. Phoned up new NZ friends and – joy of joys they are more than happy to see us! Yippee!