Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit New Zealand: Orakei Korako Geothermal Park




April 3, 2019

Visit New Zealand: Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

Orakei Korako Geothermal Park is a beautiful attraction to visit to see incredible works of nature.

After a short ferry ride across the lake, you immediately start the self-guided tour and come across sinter terraces blanketed with microbes that give them their color.

Black, green, and yellow algae cover a majority of the terraces.

There are several small geysers throughout Orakei Korako, including Diamond Geyser, which we were fortunate to witness erupt from the Visitor Center across the lake.

The Artist's Palette's was awe-inspiring.  The myriad of colors, steaming vents, and clear pools were quite magical to observe.

Artist's Palette - a 10,000 square meter silica sinter terrace in an old hydrothermal eruption crater.  Clear blue alkali chloride water forms pools, springs, and geysers; microbial mats create colorful displays. 
It was so neat to see all of the different colors and textures throughout the different terraces.

The scenes reminded me of paint that was dripping down a canvas or swirled in a pool of water with other colors.

It was nature at its finest!

Other highlights included:
The Map of Africa
Golden Fleece Terrace (consists of old silicified plant material)
Elephant Rock (can you see it?)
Devil's Throat
One of the highlights of Orakei Korako for me was the Ruatapu Cave.  This "Sacred Hole" is one of only two known caves in the world located in a geothermal field.  There is a clear pool at the bottom of the cave, which contains warm acid water.  

Pictures do not do this cave justice.  As I stared down into the cave, it did feel sacred and powerful, and honestly potentially a bit ominous if you showed any disrespect.

Ruatapu Cave (aka Aladdin's Cave); A small pool at the base of the cave is known as Waiwhakaata or "The Pool of Mirrors."
The bubbling "Soda Fountain" hot springs, as well as the Mud Pools, were also a treat to witness.

Soda Fountain
Mud Pools
Mud pools form where thermal fluids have chemically decomposed surface rocks, forming clay in the process.  Underground energy heats the clay, producing the boiling mud.

We walked through Orakei Korako in the late afternoon, so it was pretty hot. There are few shaded benches around the area, and a portion of the walk was through lush ferns that provided some cool shade, but the overall warm temperature, along with the numerous steps, did require lots of energy, so be sure to stay hydrated and take rest breaks whenever necessary.

On site is a MudCake Cafe, where we stopped for ice cream after the hike (they also offer free Wi-Fi!).

Orakei Korako was not as crowded as other geothermal parks we visited, which I thought was great, because you didn't feel rushed or bombarded by others. 

Orakei Korako Geothermal Park is a unique place to visit that offers guests the opportunity to see thousands of years worth of past geothermal activity, while experiencing the phenomena first-hand. 

Orakei Korako Geothermal Park
494 Orakeikorako Rd
Taupo 3083, New Zealand
+64 7-378 3131
Mahalo to the sponsor for the complimentary admission.

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