Oh Rotorua. You and your stinky, sulphury odours from the depths of hell. How wonderful the sights are, and how revolting the smells.

Today, we went a short distance out of the town of Rotorua to Waimangu Volcanic Valley, which is the site of a hydrothermal blast back in 1886. It is still really active in the sense that there’s quite a few hot springs and hot water lakes, but there has never been magma on the surface. Everything is down in the Rift, which is about 16kms long.

The 1886 event tore the entire site up and opened up the earth over a length of 16 km leaving in its wake a total of 5 pools and lakes which are accessible to the public.

The park is easily accessible and has a week kept walkway with clear signs to show the visitors the right way. There even is a free bus service to take you to or from one of the the stops.
We walked all the way down to stop 3 and rode the bus back to the information centre. What grandeur is there to be seen, the colours and sights are awesome.
Imagining the sheer power that is below the surface to shape everything you see is mind boggling.

Afterwards we went out on a tip from our host John to go and see the first of giant redwood trees. We have encountered a forest with such trees in the USA, but this forest is different. There simply are no other trees in the forest! It consists of just redwood, and nothing else. We felt dwarfed by the giants, much more than the previous times.
Even though these trees are smaller in girth and height.

Tomorrow a drive to Tongariro, and Christmas Eve. We don’t particularly feel like it’s Christmas, but 24 is 24. 🙂