Sulphure, hot springs and geysers?

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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua
January 28th 2014
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -38.1398, 176.247

Rotorua seems to exist almost exclusively to provide food and accommodation for the tourists who come to see the geothermal areas - and it does it in a pretty unattractive way. The road on which our motel was located was lined its full length both sides with bed and breakfasts, motels and hotels. Fortunately TripAdvisor had pointed us at a good one and the helpful staff told us of a spa about twenty minutes away where we could partake of the waters, fed by a hot spring that pours out hundreds of litres of boiling water a minute which is then cooled to temperatures of 35-40 degrees by waterfalls and holding ponds and flows into swimming pool and lounging pools. All very pleasant, and the sight of the clouds of steam drifting into the air from the hot spring quite exciting.

Next morning we headed out to one of the extensive geothermal areas enticed by the knowledge there was a geyser that 'went off' at 10:15 every morning. Somewhat sceptical about this we joined the crowds hundreds strong to watch the performance - only to find it does go off at 10:15 (or thereabouts) because the staff pour some substance like soap powder into it. Apparently this behaviour was noted by some inmates from the local prison 80 yrs ago who decided that the hot water would be a better place to do their laundry than the inadequate prison facility and its geyser has been induced every day since!

Despite this - the walk round the geothermal area with bubbling mud and acid-coloured lakes and the likes was wonderfully scenic and good fun, with a range of colours of bubbling mud and waters, stained rocks and lots of chemicals.

And on to Lake Taupo, and the Tongariro Alpine crossing!

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