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Friday, April 24, 2009

Tourists in Taupo

Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand and was formed about 1800 years ago at the eruption of a huge volcano. The effects in the sky was noticed and documented in China and Rome, and a layer of ash covered the country. The caldera slowly filled with water to become Lake Taupo.

P4233324 View of Lake Taupo

We joined the tourists and visited a couple of attractions while we were staying at Taupo. First up was a trip to “Craters of the Moon”, an eerie thermal area filled with steam vents, fumaroles and craters of boiling mud. The smell of sulphur is in the air and steam escapes from a myriad of vents over the area.

DSCF1197 We walked along the wooden boardwalk towards a huge hole and heard “plop, plop”, the sound of boiling mud coming from deep down. But the huge amount of steam billowing out of the hole made it almost impossible to photograph the boiling mud.

P4243334 Boiling mud seen through the billowing mist

The fumaroles on the hill made a tremendous hissing and whistling sound as the super heated air is forced through tiny holes. Amazingly some plants seem to flourish quite happily in this alien landscape. Because of the large amount of thermal activity the ground is very unstable and care must be taken to keep to the pathways.

DSCF1195 Noisy fumaroles on the hill side

Our next visit was to the spectacular Huka Falls. The Waikato River rushes through a narrow chasm in the volcanic rock, where the white capped blue water tumbles down onto the rocks with a roar. There are plenty of lookout points for photo opportunities. We joined the overseas tourists marvelling at this mighty force of nature. The braver ones join the jet boat operators who take their customers right up to the base of the falls for a thrilling bumpy ride.

DSCF1202 Huka Falls

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