We leave behind the mountains and volcanos of Lake Taupo and turn the camper van once again north towards the Coromandel and Auckland. The days are passing quickly now that we are approaching the end of our stay in New Zealand with only five more nights left. With no time to waste but still relaxed we are headed for the Bay of Plenty once more but on the way we stop at one of the most visited sites in New Zealand, Wai-o-tapu  geothermal area or known as the sacred waters to the Māori. Just north of the Taupo Volcanic Zone the area is just south of Lake Rotorua where we passed through earlier in our journey. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is open to the public, providing access to part of the larger scenic reserve. Accessible by foot, paths traverses the park past hot springs, geysers and mud pools. The most amazing part is the famous Champagne Pool and Artist’s Palette which forms the central attraction.

DSC01962
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
The edges of the Champagne Pool
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
The Artist’s Palette
DSC01988
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
The swirl of the Artist’s Palette
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Viewed through the surrounding trees, the Champagne Pool
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
The serrated edges Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
The orange edges are a result of arsenic sulfides in the pool.
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool, note the low ‘barrier’.
DSC02094
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu
Escaping carbon dioxide across the surface similar to a Champagne glass
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Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu

The Champagne Pool is stunning, fantastic natural colours emerge from the depths, the orange  edges of the pool are formed from the  arsenic sulphides present in the mixture, the boiling waters are turned yellow by the high concentration of sulphur present, indeed  the smell of rotten eggs follows us around the park ! On closer inspection the blue central waters of the Champagne Pool are covered with bubbles as escaping carbon dioxide reaches it’s surface, the pool has been named because of the similarities to the fizzing of a champagne glass.  Hot blue steam is constantly swirling into our faces as we stand at the edges of the 100 degree boiling crater, we separated by only a low trip high barrier !

Into the forest

The park is quiet extensive, the boardwalks span out into the park past boiling mud pools, crystalized lakes and bubbling geysers, part of the footpath climb up into the forest offering some longer views and a chance to escape the oppressive  heat and steam of the lakes, it’s a chance to cool down under the trees. At the end of the park facing south, Lake Ngakoro stretches out into the distance, the form of a volcano is visible far away towards Lake Taupo.

In the afternoon we leave behind the geothermal area of the central plains and skirting Lake Rotorua we momentarly cross our tracks from two weeks ago, this time we head north for Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty coastline.

Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
On the Boardwalk, Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
An escape from the heat,Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
Lake Ngakoro, Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
Boiling waterfall, Wai-O-Tapu
Wai-O-Tapu
Boiling Mud Hole
Wai-O-Tapu
The waters turned yellow by sulphur

Travelling Notes

Check out the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area website : Wai O-Tapu

Where : Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area, Nr. Rotorua, New Zealand

Travelling : Central North Island, just south of Lake Rotorua. It get busy, so get there early,  wear a sun hat and bring some water ! Little shaded cafe and shop for browsing afterwards. Lady Knox geyser is an extra walk or drive up the road not part of the entrance zone, also gets packed as people wait for it to blow !

Camping : Five Mile Bay, on the southern outskirts of Taupo, a busy freedom camping ground with fantastic views and access to the lake for a cold swim. Drive north through Taupo on Highway 5, the thermal park is on the right hand side.

Next Up : The Coromandel & Hahei

 


 

13 thoughts on “Boiling Over / Wai-O-Tapu

    1. Thank you, cool that you are going to NZ, so much to see, Mount Taranaki is well worth the detour form the usual tourist routes. Are you renting a camper ? Tongariro Crossing a must ! Thanks for following !

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sometimes I think…no I know, Mother Nature makes better colors then a crayon box. Gorgeous. and it’s nice you shared the reason behind the colors. As you know I love your photos and I love more that you take us there. Reminds me of my time in Yellowstone. I had heard of Champagne Pool, but have never seen it AHHH. I don’t have a favorite today. Maybe the pool framed by trees. Seems like a quiet, lost oasis. I also loved the meandering trail. See you at your next destination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you your comments are much appreciated, it is a place that is difficult to forget, the colours are all so unusual, the blue cloud of steam over the Champagne Pool that at the turn of the wind engulfed us with warm moist steam, was a strange sensation. I can see why the Maori people consider this land a sacred place. See you soon in Hahei !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember when I visited here a couple of years back, truly amazing to experience just how fragile the ground is…I recall bubbling pathways in places. I did find it hard to do it justice with photos though, it looks like you’ve done pretty well with the capturing the vivid colours, what type of camera/settings did you use?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Graham, it was my second time here so I’ve had some practice ! I took these on my Sony. RX10, I don’t want to carry loads of equipment around with me, the day is not all about photography, the RX is compact and easy to carry and quick to use, settings always on manual as this is the best way to improve and that day I used a Gobe filter to capture the colour depth over the fantastic Zeiss lens. Hope that helps !

      Like

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