Side note: I apologise for any spelling, grammar or any other mistakes made in each travel blog post. I try my best to fit an hour in of each day to right it, so normally run out of time to proof read.
Today was the time to see some epic geothermal activity in Rotorua in the form of some mammoth sized geysers. Te Puia is the home of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and is also New Zealand’s living Maori culture centre, so they claimed.
Once I got there after arguing with Google Maps for taking me the wrong way, I was pretty blown away by the size of the place. Don’t get me wrong, I was expecting the geyser to be huge, but it wasn’t until I walked through the entrance that I learnt Te Puia is also the home of more than 500 natural geothermal wonders…gee wizz!
It’s a good job I had my designated walking trainers on.
After purchasing an ‘English Breakfast Tea’ which made me wonder what part of England served tie that tasted like this, I began my journey into the great mountains. The first sight for my eyes was a lookout post that had a bridge in the distance that was just about see-able through the steam generated by these mountains.
My aim of the day was to locate this bridge and get lost within the mystical clouds.
With that as my aim I’ll let you guess what happened next?
Yep, you probably guessed it right, it turned out I went the total opposite way and found myself further away from the bridge. Nice one Matt.
But you know what they say, ‘when you take a road that wasn’t your desired need, that’s how you see the marvels this world has to offer.’ Ok, so I may have just made that up, but in this case it was true.
The first thing I came across were rebuilt homes that the Maori people who once occupied these mountains would live in. A perfectly crafted over hanging roof was used to keep the walls dry, the small entrance to keep heat inside and a secret exit (in the form of a tunnel the people would dig from inside their home) to escape the enemy.
After walking past a war boast much similar to the one I saw in the Auckland Museum, my first hot spring arrived. It was known as Lake Rotowhio which translates as ‘lake of the whistling duck.’ Of course, the hockey fan in me wanted to shout out ‘LET’S GO DUCKS!’ but in the interest of not wanting to look like an utter twat, I decided not to do this.
The walk across the mountains was incredible. Every 30 steps I felt like my camera lens was coming off and I was taking snaps of the beauty in front of me. Later on during my travels it was suggested that lakes much like the ones in front of me was where Maori natives loved to bath, even though the acidity of the lakes is reputedly around the same level as an acid car battery.
The lake that was now in front of me is named after Hatupatu, who travelled to New Zealand on the Te Arawa waka (canoe) from the ancestral Pacific homeland of Hawaiki. He was one of the first ancestors to explore this area and become familiar with the geothermal activity and the local terrain.
This local knowledge would help Hatupatu evade his pursuer, Kurungaituku, the magical bird-woman. Is it just me or would this make an awesome movie or graphic novel?
Once I had explored the lakes and natural beauty of this side of the mountain it was time to set track onto the other side. To finally cross that mystical bridge.
After a short walk, I had finally come across it. What was now next to me and below my feet was the Pohutu geyser, the biggest geyser in the southern hemisphere.
The sight my eyes were laid upon was truly breathtaking. It was as though it was man-maid, perfectly sculptured and coloured to attract tourists to come and see it. You could feel the ground you walked on getting warmer the closer you walked towards its centre.
Then what happened made me feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Pohutu geyser started erupting. It would shoot incredible amounts of water high in the air. So high that I started to think maybe I was stood too close. I wasn’t ready to be rushed to hospital with burns running up my body.
What could have been better than seeing this? A second eruption. Yes that’s right, a different part of the geyser decided that it didn’t want to get outdone so started fire hot water just as high.
To see this happen right in front of my eyes was both breathtaking and slightly frightening. The ground, as well as becoming even warmer, started to rumble.
I manage to catch this moment on film, but the crappy wifi in the cafe I’m currently sitting it won’t let me upload it. They do serve some pretty tasty hot chocolate though.
*managed to upload the video clip now. CLICK HERE to see*
Today was a huge success. It was amazing to trek high in the mountains, breathing the fresh air. To see these natural sights truly is a wonder and to be able to see an actual geyser go off in front of your eyes is a sight and experience that will be carried with me for a long time.