Are New Zealanders from Rotorua nice

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New Zealand - volcanoes and geysers at the other end of the world

The New Zealand archipelago consists of over 700 islands and rocky islets, but when you talk about New Zealand, you usually mean the two main islands, which are simply called the North Island and the South Island. Only the North Island has volcanoes that owe their existence to the subduction of the Pacific plate under the Australian plate.

Taupo Volcanic Zone

Most of New Zealand's North Island volcanoes extend along the 350 km long Taupo Volcanic Zone. It not only contains the Taupo super volcano, but also well-known volcanoes such as Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and White Island.
The Taupo is a huge caldera volcano; it is one of the few super volcanoes on earth. It erupted 22,600 years ago with a VEI of 8 and produced about 100 times as much lava as the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991. In 180 AD, the Taupo was responsible for one of the most powerful eruptions in historical times; this eruption brought it to a VEI of 7. Today the caldera is filled with the largest lake in New Zealand.

Images from New Zealand

The Maori village of Whakarewarewa is located in a thermal area

This wooden box serves as a fumarolic pressure cooker

Pohutu Geyser is the most beautiful spring in New Zealand

What do the Maori in Whakarewarewa do at night?

Bursting mud bubble in Wai-O-Tapu

A small crater on White Island


Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe

At 2797 m, Mount Ruapehu is the highest volcano in the country. He was last active in September 2007. A minor eruption occurred, preceded by a series of earthquakes. The eruptive phase in autumn 1996 is better known. Strong magmatophreatic eruptions generated explosions and high clouds of ash. The volcanoes Ngauruhoe and Tongariro are also very close by. The three volcanoes are located in the Tongariro National Park. Mount Ngauruhoe and Tongariro are accessible via one of the most beautiful hiking trails (Tongariro Crossing) on ​​the North Island. It leads past colored pools and takes a whole day to complete. The Tongariro is a sacred place for the Maori! According to legend, the Maori high priest Ngatoroirangiin asked the gods in Hawaiki for a fire because the priest was caught in a blizzard while exploring the volcano and almost froze to death. The volcano then erupted and Ngatoroirangiin was able to warm itself to the lava.

Rotorura and Whakarewarewa

An equally strong eruption started from Mount Tarawera in 1886. This volcano in the center of the Taupo Volcanic Zone is 1111 m high and is located in a lake area. In the 1886 eruption, over 100 people died when lahars destroyed their settlements. One of the buried villages has been partially excavated and converted into an open-air museum. The "buried village", as Te Waiora is also called, was only established in 1846 as a Christian mission in Maori style. The place was already frequented by tourists who wanted to visit the 8th wonder of the world, the Pink and White Terraces on the shores of Lake Rotomahana. The legendary sintered lime terraces were also victims of the volcanic eruption.
Te Waiora is just a few minutes' drive from Rotorua. Rotorua is the name of the place on the lake of the same name in the caldera of the same name. The Rotorua Caldera was formed after the collapse of a volcano a good 140,000 years ago. Rotorua is the tourist center of the region and has grown so much in recent years that the Maori village Whakarewarewa has practically become a district of Rotorua. Whakarewarewa is actually a large thermal area where the Maori have built a small settlement. The houses stand between the hot springs. The Maori know how to use the warm water; when the tourists leave the place at 5 p.m., they go swimming. Corn is also cooked in some hot springs. Fumaroles are used as pressure cookers. For this purpose, wooden boxes were erected over the fumaroles to catch the hot steam. The pots are simply placed in the wooden boxes, the lid on, and that's good! If you think the name place name is ineffable, you shouldn't even try the original name, because "Whakarewarewa" is the short form for "Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao".
Visitors should say goodbye to the thought of wild nature on New Zealand's North Island. There is enough pure nature here, but practically only in the form of national parks that require entry. In the past, New Zealand's most beautiful geyser was accessible from Whakarewarewa. Today you have to pay a second entrance fee about 1 km from the Maori village to take a look at the Pohutu geyser. It breaks out at short intervals and is sometimes continuously active. The geyser threatened to cease its activity because too many private households in Rotorua were drawing off the steam. This has been banned since 2000 and so the activity of the geyser is increasing again.

Wai-O-Tapu thermal area

One of the most interesting hot springs in the Rotorua area is that of Wai-O-Tapu. The geothermal activity dates back to a volcanic eruption 160,000 years ago. In Wai-O-Tapu there is also the "Lady Knox Geyser", which erupts punctually every morning at 10.15 am; thanks to a ranger who pours 300 g of soap into the conveyor slot!
One of the largest thermal springs manifests itself in the Champagne Pool. It is 62 m deep and 67 m in diameter. Antimony sulphides give the pool its intense color.
Outside the actual park are the mud pools. The bubbling mud springs are among the largest in the world and are absolutely worth seeing.

White Island

White Island is one of New Zealand's volcanoes that have been the most active in recent years. The small island in the "Bay of Plenty" is now uninhabited and is privately owned. A visit to the small volcanic island is only possible in organized tours from Whakatane. Landing on White Island is the real adventure of visiting the island. Even moderate swell can make the zodiac rock powerfully that is used to disembark. The old concrete pier on the coast of the island is flooded by waves and many visitors are said to have taken an involuntary bath here. The island is not approached in bad weather. The horseshoe-shaped crater is open to the sea and is reminiscent of the mount in its shape. St. Helens.
Sulfur was mined on White Island until the beginning of the 20th century and the ruins of the mine can still be seen today.
The last major eruptions occurred in 1981 and 1983. A smaller eruption occurred in July 2000. On this occasion, a new crater was formed.

I went on my first trip to New Zealand in May 2009. I was just as impressed by the hospitality and lifestyle of the New Zealanders as by the great outdoors. However, all of the volcanic sights described here are located in small parks, where entry fees between 10 and 25 New Zealand dollars are due.

As of 2010

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