March 14, 2008

Rotorua - Day Two

Sunday we started off at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland where the Lady Knox Geyser is induced to perform on schedule precisely at 10:15 each morning. The park ranger sprinkles a bit of biodegradable soap into the mouth of the geyser. This reduces the water's surface tension
causing the geyser to erupt.
After watching Lady Knox do her thing, we walked through the thermal reserve. Much of it was rocky and barren, with gaping holes where mud boils and steam shoots through tiny yellow-rimmed fumaroles. When George Bernard Shaw visited Rotorua he quipped, "It reminds me too vividly of the fate theologians have promised me." I wouldn't go so far as to say it reminded me of the underworld but this crater is called Devil's Home. Hmmm. Maybe Shaw was onto something....
This is the Artist's Palette.
As the waters cool and the minerals that have come up from below the earth's surface are exposed to our atmosphere, they show themselves in a variety of colors.
This is the Champagne Pool. According to my brochure it's the largest spring in the region at 65m in diameter and 62m deep. I think this is on the other side of the Champagne Pool. The sulphurous steam and volcanic gases didn't do much for my hair.This is the Devil's Bath. The picture doesn't really capture the color correctly though. The water was truly neon green. Warren said it looks like the Devil must like the same bath tablets Jerry used when he was in preschool.
After visiting the thermal reserve we were dead tired but since we had checked out of our motel we had nowhere to lay down for a nap. So we went to a cafe inside a camping store (kind of like REI). Jerry ate a Smartie and his tongue turned blue.
Then we went to Blue Lake because it sounded like someplace we could rest. Both Blue Lake and Green Lake are (what else?) inside volcanic craters. Are you getting the feeling that absolutely everything in New Zealand is in a volcanic crater?
There was a beautiful playground by the lake. That's jerry in the orange t-shirt.We ended up hiking about half way around the lake.
We all had to take a running jump off this ledge.Uh oh. Looks like I'm getting a bit soft around the middle. I couldn't get a good one of Jerry in mid-air but here he is hanging out.
And here we are sitting on the beach. We sat there for a long time watching the boats go by and talking. Then we headed back to town.
After dinner at Fat Dog Cafe, Warren dropped Jerry and I off at the home of a homeschooling family that had offered us a place to stay for a couple nights. More on that exciting adventure tomorrow!

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