Thermal Activity

Date: 24/02/2007 | Author: gabby

We are all learning loads about volcanoes and plate tectonics in New Zealand. The country is at the point where the IndoAustralian and Pacific plates meet, hence the mountains, glaciers, fiords, earthquakes and thermal activity. Heading for the Taupo and Rotarua region we were looking forward to bathing in a few thermal pools and experiencing other elements of this fascinating country.
During our time there we went to 3 thermal areas, each more interesting than the last. The 2 biggest, Orakei Korako and Wai-o-tapu were absolutely fascinating. Huge areas covered with collapsed craters, geysers, cold and boiling pools of mud, water and steaming fumaroles. The rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulphide everywhere (for some bizarre reason Ella quite liked the pong!). I had never seen anything like this in my life. The pools of water full of so many different mineral elements they were all different colours and very beautiful in very unnatural ways.
Obviously, being new Zealand, plenty of spa like premises have been developed to take advantage of the healing qualities of the mineral rich and naturally heated waters. There was one next door to our campsite in Taupo, complete with a kids play area and giant slide, which the girls loved.
By far the best 'spa' for me was Kerosene Creek - about 15km south of Rotarua. It's probably one of the few thermal pools in the area where you can bathe for free and is completely natural. The drive down an unsealed road off the main highway takes you to a small river. Walking for a few hundred metres you arrive at a small waterfall with lovely pool for swimming. The only difference to the other waterfalls is that the water is a gorgeous temperature - maybe 40 degrees C - slightly too hot for your average bath but lovely once you get used to it. The girls weren't quite as keen - it really was too hot for them and they wanted a pool to cool down in rather than heat up in. I loved it and could have spent all day there. Once again, as is so common in New Zealand, there were just a handful of people enjoying this amazing, natural delight. It was just lovely.............

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