Janetta and I met at the Auckland airport last night, picked up our car (Norman, pictured below), and drove 3 hours to Rotorua. After a good nights sleep we were refreshed and ready to hit hte town. When mom and I were here last we checked out the geysers and Te Puia, so this time Janetta and I decided to head 30 minutes out of the city to Wai-O-Tapu geothermal pools.
We made it in time to catch the Lady Knox Geyser eruption, which occurs every day at 10:15. This area was originally a prison, with the prisoners clearing the land of trees and plants. They discovered a hot water pool and thought this would speed up their chores. So they came out here with their laundry and soap, but as soon as they put the soap in the geyser erupted! Nowadays at 10:15 a bit of soap is dropped in so the eruption happens on command – without the soap it could go off anytime between 2 and 24 hours. It erupts anywhere between 10-12 meters high!
And then we moved back to the geothermal pools. These pools were sculpted out of volcanic activity thousands of years ago. It has been the dry season, so most of the pools didn’t have much water in them, but it was still cool to see the craters. The pools that were filled were coloured very brightly – this is from various mineral elements that have found their way in the crater (the most common being sulphur). It was quite cool to see, and you get used to the sulphur smell eventually.
After 1.5 around the geothermal pools, we made our way to the mud pools, because why not! I loved the exploding mud.
From here we made our way back to Rotorua to do a grocery store run, then drove to Matamata to prepare for Hobbiton tonight.