The Volcanic Activity Centre was a “must do” while we were in Taupo. And we got senior discount tickets too, which made it even better. The Volcanic Activity Centre brings to life the explosive past and present volcanic geothermal features of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Yes indeed, this is a very “active” area indeed.
The Earthquake Simulator is a real favourite with visitors. We sat inside, holding on for dear life, and the little house shook and rattled, showing the amount of force behind the 6.3 earthquake which devastated Christchurch on 22nd February 2011. It seemed to go on, and on, and on, so no wonder so many buildings were torn apart and lived ruined.
The Film Theatre ran films showing the 1995-96 Mt Ruapehu eruptions - we can certainly remember when the mountain was belching dense clouds of ash, spewing rocks up in the air, disrupting air traffic, and ruining the ski season. There was a film showing the Tangiwai Disaster, which happened in 1953. The crater lake on Mt Ruapehu collapsed, the water raced down the mountain side, knocked out a rail bridge just before the Wellington to Auckland overnight express was due to cross, with a terrible loss of life. And finally there were films showing the devastation caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes. It all made very sobering viewing, reminding us that we live in a country full of seismic activity.
There was plenty to see and do inside the centre with numerous wall displays, microscopes, and computerised simulators. Plenty there to keep you busy and informed for some time, including this large table showing volcanic activity in the region. We can certainly recommend a visit to the centre.