The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

21 April, 2017

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

After our stay in Rotorua at our first Airbnb, we left early morning to travel to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland to see the eruption of Lady Knox Geyser which is scheduled to erupt every morning at 10.15 am. This seemed amusing as it was always 10.15 am, even during daylight saving times!

We took the road to Taupo and travelled about 27km to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Arrived early enough to have a quick look around the thermal pools, enduring the bad smell - hydrogen sulphide - before driving to Lady Knox for the 10.15am eruption. 

At 10am we gathered with many other tourists in anticipation for 10.15am eruption. The Wai-O-Tapu guide arrived and gave a presentation on the history and explained what causes the eruption, part of which explained how they induce the geyser every day at 10.15am. So now I know why it erupts on time every day!! They drop down environmental soap into the geyser which enduces a reaction and makes the geyser erupt. Lady Knox geyser naturally erupts at other random times during the day.

A park guide describes the history and how the geyser is enduced to erupt 

Lady Knox Geyser as it erupts for the audience 
After the demonstration we headed back to the reception at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland  for a coffee and a further look around the pools and craters - more civilised this time as the majority of the tourists viewed the area prior to 10am (they then viewed the geyser eruption before getting on a bus and off to see something else!). It was fascinating looking around at the various craters and the bubbling pools of 100°C water from the underground stream. At times the smell from the sulphur was most unpleasant to say the least.

From the lookout which overlooks the thermal park reception and steam from the many craters

Artist Palette

The smell can be quite over powering at times!

Artist Palette - overflowing water draws with it minerals, as the water cools the minerals are exposed to the atmosphere and show as various colours depending on the depth of water. 

Champagne Pools
The Champagne Pool is the larges spring in the district, being 65m in dia and 62m deep. The surface temp is 74°C and bubbles are due to carbon dioxide. Minerals contained in the water are gold, silver, mercury, sulphur, arsenic, thallium and are depositing in the sinter ledge.

Walkway passes the Sulphur Cave. You can see the sulphur crystal formations on the cave wall above the vents.

Champagne pool and the sinter ledge.

Devil's Bath, a large ruggedly edge crater. The natural water colour is a result from excess water from Champagne Pool mixing with sulphur and ferrous salts.

As we drove out of the park there was one more stop at the mud pools. Mud pools are two distinctive geothermal features, one is the pools are fed by deep geothermal fluids directed to the surface and the other is from steam and gas boiling deep under the earth - these interact to form discoloured pools and mud pots. Helen was totally enthralled with these mud pools.

The mud pools

Some of the gases as they erupt out of the mud making a spectacular blurp!

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