Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (NZ)

With Rotorua well-known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers, and natural hot springs, we had to visit one of the tourist attraction spots for these natural wonders.

Admission fee: NZ$32.50/ pax

I find it really impressive that Rotorua sits within the Pacific Rim of Fire and we were surrounded by so much (unknown) thermal activity.


Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

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We’re here!

Devil’s Home
The first example of a collapsed crater where underground acid action has caused the ground to collapse. 

Rainbow Crater
Named after the sulphur crystals and colored mineral veins exposed in the kaolin clay walls of the crater. An oily slick is visible on top of the boiling water at its base.

Thunder Crater
A collapsed crater formed in 1968. It graphically illustrates how unstable the land can be.

Devil’s Ink Pots
A series of mud pools whose water levels fluctuate with the amount of rainfall. The color is due to small amounts of graphite and crude oil brought to the surface by the water forcing its way up.
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The sun, the smell! (Photo: XM)

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Artist’s Palette 
Overflowing water from the Champagne Pool draws with it minerals that have originated below the surface. As the waters cool and the minerals are exposed to our atmosphere they show themselves in a variety of locations and colors depending upon water levels and wind direction.
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Just look at how insanely gorgeous this view is.
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You could melt yourself and die if you accidentally fall in.
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The Artist’s Palette was my favorite feature.
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Smoke from the heat of the bubbling pools.
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Melting. (Photo: XM)
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A shot before we left the Palette. (Photo: XM)

Opal Pool
A sulphurous spring on the edge of the sinter terrace named after its greenish yellow color.
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On the way to the next spot.

Wai-O-Tapu Geyser
The eruption cycle of 2 to 36 hours is believed to have recently been affected by subterranean activity in the area.
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Nope, nothing.
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I love how the different minerals are a different color.

Frying Pan Flat
Also an eruption crater, the unstable floor of which is littered with bubbling hot springs and fumaroles.

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Really flat indeed.

Oyster Pool
Located in unstable ground, this natural sulphorous pool is named after its distinct shape.
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Le wild oyster pool appears. Why is it called that? Cause it looks like an oyster…

Sulphur Cave
There are magnificient examples of undisturbed crystallized sulphur formed as hot sulphur gases have cooled in the sheltered atmosphere in the overhanging cliff.

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Lake Ngakoro Waterfall
Be rewarded by the sight and sound of water tumbling over the rocks into the green waters of Lake Ngakoro (the grandfather). The majority of the lake is visible which was formed after an eruption more than 700 years ago.

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Devil’s Bath
A large ruggedly-edged crater adjoining the bush line with an amazing natural water color at its base. The color is the result of excess water from the Champagne Pool mixing with sulphur and ferrous salts. Changes in color through green to yellow are associated with the amount of reflected light and cloud cover. 
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Look at how bright and luminous the green is!
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Devil-lish indeed.
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So grateful for the sunny weather.

That’s it! We spent about 2 hours in the wonderland just being in awe that such features exist. There were a lot more spots but we skipped some cause of the lack of time.

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Back on the road again to make the 1.5hr++ ride to Whakatane.

Next up: taking a break from civilisation, wifi, and being completely surrounded by nature.

Read more about my previous adventures in New Zealand here:

Till then!

*All descriptions of the features are taken from Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland’s brochure.

13 thoughts on “Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (NZ)

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