17 July 2014


We left Rotorua this morning for Waiotapu, a dramatic geothermal region with geysers, craters, spurting mud, and noxious, technicolor pools of boiling water.

The Lady Knox Geyser erupts every morning at 10:15, but not because it is faithful. The geyser's period is somewhat unpredictable, so a park ranger gives it a sprinkle of soap powder to break the water's surface tension and move things along on schedule. It's not as grand as Old Faithful or Strokkur, but Lady Knox treated us to a rainbow today.

Since Lady Knox erupts on a schedule, anyone who visits the park in a given day will be at the geyser at 10:15, and then head to the park's main circuit immediately after the water show. Our innkeeper advised us to wait out the crowd by visiting a spectacular but mostly-ignored pool of mud.

We really like boiling mud. It sputters, spurts, and gurgles in a comical way that belies the violent forces that set it in motion. Photo credit: Daniel.

We headed back to the main trail, where most of what we saw looked like the surface of Venus.

The colors, sounds, and odors at Waiotapu are nature's way of saying "keep out," but New Zealand reiterates the point with frequent warning signs like this one. 

We observed enough random, steaming holes in the ground to realize why you don't step off the path here: there's no way to know how much earth there is between your feet and the churning water below. They must have missed the holes.

No comments: