We said goodbye to Rotarua and headed south to our next destination in Turangi. On the way we stopped at Waimangu Volcanic Valley, scene of a major explosive eruption in the 1886, a devastating geyser in 1900, and another smaller eruption in 1917. We were divided into two smaller groups for the tour: one took a hike down the valley first and then a boat ride on the crater lake. The other did the two segments in the opposite sequence.


Echo Crater, Waimangu

Echo Crater contains Frying Pan Lake. This was the center of the 1917 eruption that killed two people. At present, the lake is the world's largest hot spring with a temperature of 131° F.


Cathedral Rocks, Waimangu

 Cathedral Rocks overlooks Frying Pan Lake. It is formed of rhyolitic lava that predates the Tarawera volcano.


Hot Water Creek

The outlet from Frying Pan Lake is Hot Water Creek. This valley was the location of the Waimangu Geyser, which erupted regularly between 1900 and 1904. Eruptions could reach over 1300 feet high and included sand, mud and rocks as well as boiling water. There are pictures at the link.


Inferno Crater Lake, Waimangu

Inferno Crater Lake is actually the world's largest geyser, but the geyser is under water. The surface of the lake rises and falls depending on the activity of the geyser. The maximum height of the lake is indicated by the white deposits. When it gets that high, the water, which is extremely acidic, overflows into a waterfall.

The color of the lake changes depending on where it is in the eruption cycle. The blue that we saw was breathtaking.

We saw some tracks beside the lake and our guide said that they were from wallabies, another introduced animal from Australia.


GeyserA closer look at the steam vents along the cliff face. The yellow color is due to algae rather than sulphur. This is actually a small geyser in the process of erupting.


Geyser

The boat hung around this mini geyser to watch its eruption cycle. There is a small pool that begins to fill and overflow shortly before the geyser burbles up. It blows the excess water out of the pool and then subsides.


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