Nothing compares to nature’s craftsmanship. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua, New Zealand is probably one of the best places to witness the earth as an artist at work. Vividly coloured hot springs, mud pools and geysers brought about by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, the geothermal wonders in Wai-O-Tapu are truly a sight to behold. No wonder it is included in TripAdvisor’s list of 20 Most Surreal Places in the World.
There are various features in Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, each with its own distinct character. Make time to explore them all.
A walk along the different geothermal attractions was like being part of an art attack. The intense splash of colour and various textures of the geothermal attractions are simply breath-taking (sulphur smell aside). The unique volcanic landscape is cast beautifully amongst lush trees, and walkways are strategically placed for the different trails in this area. There are a three series of walks ranging from 30 to 75 minutes along different unique areas. Here are some of my favourite spots:
The Artist’s Palette is one of the massive geothermal areas that caught my eye. The colours of the mineral laden water, which originally came from the Champagne pool, range from blue, yellow, orange, green and grey. It’s simply a work of art.
Hot steam welcomes you as you come close to witness the charming colours of this hot spring. The Champagne Pool is one of the popular attractions in the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and probably the most beautiful. I have never seen anything like it and it’s something I will never forget. Cheers to this masterpiece!
Neon yellow? As if the earlier greens, oranges and blues weren’t vivid enough, the Devil’s bath hits your eyes with a streak of bright yellow green. It’s certainly one of the highlights of the geothermal walk.
Right at the very end of the third track is a small waterfall and the volcanic lake, Lake Ngakoro. Here you can witness the beauty of nature that surrounds this interesting volcanic landscape.
Lady Knox Geyser
Who wouldn’t want to see a geyser erupt? Jon and I had to change our plans for transportation (I had to drive a car in New Zealand) in order to witness this interesting phenomenon, which starts at 10:15am each day. Along with a crowd of spectators, we witnessed a presentation which showed the history and mechanics of the Lady Knox Geyser. It was an impressive display that shouldn’t be missed.
Here’s a short clip of the Lady Knox Geyser eruption:
It’s not over yet. Just before you leave the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, head to the Mud Pools, the site of a large mud volcano which was destroyed through erosion in the 1920’s.
Jon and I had a great time exploring the interesting landscape and colourful natural wonders in Wai-O-Tapu. The sulfur smell of this geothermal paradise may have faded but its unique beauty will remain in our memories. If you happpen to be visiting the North Island of New Zealand, you should definitely go to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see this surreal place!
Check out Jon’s post, “Crazy Driving and Psychedelic Scenery in Rotorua, New Zealand” for other activities we did in Rotorua.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland Map
Have you been to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland or a similar geothermal site? Let us know.