Geothermal wonders of New Zealand

We decided to explore the volcanic area of New Zealand which is known for its geothermal features and activity. We went for a visit to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the youngest geothermal area in the world crated as result of a volcanic eruption. We arrived about midday and had just over 4 hours to explore the area. We were following the path that was constructed to give the best overview and information about all features and important facts. Walking from point to point we were learning what happened so many years ago and how the area slowly changed after the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886.

Southern Crater is about 50 meters deep. It is filled with cold waters of emerald pool, which changes colours from blue to brown and emerald depending on the changes and states of the various plant species living there.

Frying Pan Lake is located inside the Echo Crater. It’s one of the World’s largest hot water springs. The lake water is acid, while the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide gas bubbling up gives the appearance of boiling.

Bird’s Nest Terrace – miniature silica terraces formed by the boiling springs with multi-coloured algae.

Inferno Crater with beautiful blue lake – water levels are rising and falling up to 12 meters in mysterious cycles with shallow recessions occurring every few days. The temperature of highly acid waters can reach 80 degrees Celsius.

Tarawera Volcano and Lake Rotomahana view.

Marble Terrace and buttresses – formed by silica depositing out of solution coming from Iodine Pool and building in successive layers over time.

Warbrick Terrace – set of multi-coloured fast growing silica platforms located in the Rainbow Crater, formed by the hot fluids cooling as they run across the surface of the ground.

The developing native forest is example of a bio-system re-establishing after complete devastation by volcanic eruption and is home to many rare and unusual plants and species that have adapted to the hot earth.

Visit to Waimangu Volcanic Valley was an amazing experience. It’s a great walk, in an area of stunning natural beauty.

Next day we had a chance to see another example of geothermal forces at work – Mud Pool in Wai-O-Tapu. It’s large boiling, constantly bubbling and plopping mud pool. It’s very unusual place, worth the short visit.