Rotorua to Napier

The first settlers to come to Rotorua are said to have tied themselves to trees as they ate lunch down by the many geothermic lakes in the area so they didn’t fall in and drown when the copious amounts of hydrogen sulphide in the air sent them to sleep! The air all around Rotorua still stinks of rotten eggs, winning the city the nickname of ‘Sulphur City’, but at least you get a good night’s sleep.


Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to look at – Autumn is a good season to visit if you like colours

The whole of New Zealand owes its existence and continued shaping to its position at the southwestern edge of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ where the Pacific Plate is (generally) being subducted beneath the Indo-Australian Plate resulting in extensive volcanic activity, earthquakes, eruptions, tsunamis and geothermal pockets. The Taupo Volcanic Zone near to Rotorua is one of the most active volcanic areas on the planet, allowing visitors to see a range of volcanic phenomenon such as geysers, colourful geothermal lakes and boiling mud pools in one place.

One of the best places to see these is the Wai-O-Tapu Scenic Reserve, part of the Maroa Caldera formed approx 160,000 yrs ago when the volcano collapsed after emptying its magma chamber.

Lady Knox Geyser

Lady Knox Geyser – erupts at 10:15 daily, with a little help from our friendly Park Ranger (and some biodegradable soap)


Small volcanic explosive craters lay everywhere in Wai-O-Tapu, like this one called ‘Devil’s Home’


5% of new Zealand’s total power supply comes from this area harnessing Geothermal Power


Artist’s Palette – mineral rich geothermic waters form beautiful colours. If you’re interested, the colours & minerals are: green (colloidal sulphur / ferrous salts), orange (antimony), purple (manganese oxide), white (solica), yellow (sulphur), red (iron oxides) and black (sulphur / carbon)


Champagne Pool – Efflux of CO2 in this hot spring looks amazingly inviting, athough 73 degrees C (and 62m deep) may be a little too on the warm side…

IMG_6643 - devils bath

Devil’s Bath – Suspended Sulphur makes this eruption crator pretty inviting for The Devil, apparently


The naked Mud Wrestling show was due to start in 5 minutes…

Close to Lake Taupo I stopped by Huka Falls, where The Waikato River, normally up to 100m wide, flows through a hard volcanic ledge just 15m wide – pretty cool!


Huka Falls – a 100m wide river flowing through a 15m gap – pretty cool!


Tranquil Lake Taupo


So many waterfalls, you kind of get spoilt for choice!

I was riding to Napier and the Hawkes Bay coast, New Zealand’s answer to Napa Valley, to see how they compared.  Most of Napier was flattened by an earthquake in 1931 killing 256 people, and 4000 hectares of today’s Napier previously underwater were raised above sea level.  The city was rebuilt in Art Deco style and today is a very nice coastal town with lots of opportunity to sample the local produce, which I did.


Napier Valley wines – pretty tasty

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