NZ Day 11: Waimangu

We’ve island hopped up north, to Rotorura to be exact. The town is a major tourist hub and has lots to do. We immediately hopped in the car and headed south to visit one of the area’s geothermal valleys. The town itself sits on top of a large and very active geothermal hotspot. The history of modern eruptions in the area is fascinating.

The Waimangu Rift Valley is home to one of Drew’s favorite lakes: Frying Pan lake which was featured in a What If. It’s a large thermal lake with an average temperature of 50-60C (122-140F). The smoke on the water is actually CO2 bubbling up from below. The water is also fairly acidic. The algae that live in the lake and surrounding waters give it a wide variety of hues from green to blue to almost orange.

While hiking through the park, we found an unexpected guest. Ashley spotted a wallaby hiding in the bushes. Apparently they’ve been introduced in the area, as NZ does not have any native mammals. It was unexpected to find one at all, let alone one that was so content to sit and relax.

We’re going to to explore the Rotorura region tomorrow and hope the weather clears for Friday. More pictures here.

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