New Zealand: 23-24/03/04: hot water, steam and volcanoes

Although I had plans to visit Rotorua, they were quickly changed when entering the city.

Rotorua is supposed to be the center of tourism on the Northern Island. It is also called “Roto-Vegas”. As soon as I entered it, I decided not to stop here, as it would stress me, instead of relax me.
So I headed south to the thermal active areas of Wai-O-Tapu. The whole area around Rotorua has a well-known smell: rotten eggs. Yes, hydrogen sulphide of course. This is always associated with geysers and other geothermal activities.
Another day of blue sky, perfect weather to visit these active areas. The geyser “Lady Knox” goes off at 10:15 am. The reason it is so well timed, is because they give it a hand. They poor in some soap to let it go off. They don’t call it a trick, as otherwise it would go off as well but unpredictable at what time intervall. The whole area in Wai-O-Tapu is smoking, is filled with mud pools, special colours of water and lake borders due to different mineral elements (sulphur, manganese, iron oxide, …).

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The drive further south was really scenic. A perfect view on lake Taupo and the volcanoes Mt Ruapehu(2797m), Mt Tongariro (1967m), Mt Pukekaikiore (1692m) and Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m).
As the weather is so nice, and I want to do the Tongariro Crossing (a 7 hours walk across the volcanoes), I decided to detour first to the national park and visit Taupo later. (this walk is quite often impossible to do, due to bad weather).
But I shouldn’t have changed my plans: exact 1 day of bad weather is foreseen for the national park: 24/03. In the morning, it was according the predicitions: very cloudy. Some people left off anyway for the crossing, but I decided to wait a day, read a bit, enjoy the views in the afternoon (as it cleared out) and relax for the walk of tomorrow.
I do notice that I am already at higher altitude: eventhough the sun is shining, I can’t sit outside in T-shirt anymore.

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