Waimangu Volcanic Valley« Previous post in category · Next post in category »
Got picked up reasonably early for a full day exploration of Waimangu Volcanic Valley, one of several expensive but beautiful geothermal reserves. Waimangu consists of a two hour valley walk down to the lake, a boat cruise around the lake, and a shuttle bus back up the valley. The walk down is very gentle and would take less than half the time if you weren’t constantly stopping to look at all the amazing geothermal formations and features. One of the highlights of the walk is Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the area located in Echo Crator. Flowing out of the lake is a hot stream which you follow all the way down the valley to Lake Rotomahana. A short side trip takes you to another Lake in Inferno Crater, this one sky blue in colour. There is also a short alternative hike which leaves from here and gives amazing views over the area and down to the lake.
Back on the main route you enter into the aptly named Rainbow crater where the colours are at their most vibrant. A short nature walk leads the rest of the way down to the lake, where you can take a detour to watch the birds on the lake.
The boat tour takes you over Lake Rotomahana, where tourism first started in the area in the form of the pink and white terraces. Unfortunately these were destroyed long ago in a violent erruption which changed this area forever. From the boat you can view geysers and hot springs, as well as the red colouring of some of the cliffs caused by iron oxide.
After touring Waimangu, the bus driver took a detour on the way back to show us the second largest mudpool in the world. The mud bubbles as gasses are released from under it.