Monday, January 7, 2013

lots more from Rotorua

another big day that will have to be divided into multiple posts:

here is the TB synopsis- I will note before hand that both TB and I are big fans of crispy bacon and that NOWHERE in NZ can you get crispy bacon - most places it was barely cooked; forget it about it ever being crispy---

TB's day was somewhat different from ours but let's start there because we didn't part ways until after lunch-

12/9:  Bkfst @ Rydges Hotel; crispy bacon wasn’t.  Tour Waimangu Volcanic Valley: Hike with guide Mark (++), followed by boat tour on lake.  Lunch on own at Rotorua Museum.   Rotorua Museum tour (partial tour for TB).  TB Railcruise: only person in only vehicle on the Railcruising mainline that day (+++).  TB dinner @ Burger Fuel.  RON Rydges Rotorua.

so off we go- we are out early (Mike loves mornings!) and Logan ferries us to the spot in the Waimangu Volcanic Valley where we meet with our local naturalist guide Mark.  Rotorua was on the tourist map more than a century ago because it was the location of a fabulous geothermal phenomena called the Pink Terraces...

The terraces were New Zealand's most famous tourist attraction, sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. New Zealand was still relatively inaccessible and passage took several months by ship. The journey from Auckland was typically by steamer to Tauranga, the bridle track to Ohinemutu on Lake Rotorua, by coach to Te Wairoa by canoe across lake Tarawera, and then on foot over the hill to the swampy shores of Lake Rotomahana and the terraces.

The Pink Terraces, or Otukapuarangi ("fountain of the clouded sky") in Māori were natural wonders of NZ. They were thought to have been completely destroyed by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera, being replaced by the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley  The Terraces were formed by geothermally heated water containing large amounts of silicic acid and sodium chloride from two large geysers. These geysers were part of a group of 40 geysers in the nearby area.

Our destination this morning is the Waimangu Valley.  Here we see many interesting geologic and geothermal phenomena including hot steaming rocks- LOL- geysers, bubbling pools and lots of cool colors along the streams in the valley due to mineral deposits-

I have tons of photos so let's see if I can cull them to just enough to give you the sense of the place- I may break it up into two posts as the morning was broken up by hiking into the valley (OK so it was actually walking- LOL) and then a boat ride on the Lake to see the geyser activity... and the former location of the pink terraces.

but the trip into the valley had some pretty incredible sights:


a fern TREE-

the beautiful NZ silver fern- symbol of the nation...

and a little geyser along the way-

from here we headed onto the lake - for a short cruise to the former location of the pink terraces and to see some very active geysers that erupt regularly (every few minutes) 


we returned to the visitor's center and got drinks/ice cream and I got to try another brand of ginger beer- better than the last but not the best one of the trip- so stay tuned...

next stop bubbling mud pools...LOL- photos in the next post.... but one more note about the pink terraces- I found this in the wiki-pedia article -

The terraces were long thought to have been destroyed around 3 a.m. on 10 June 1886 during the eruption. However, a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Waikato University were mapping the lake floor when they discovered part of the Pink Terraces in February 2011. The lowest two tiers of the terraces were found in their original place at 200 ft deep, too deep for easy scuba diving.

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