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Dec 21
2014

Nature's Photoshop

We crashed at the "Crash Palace", Rotorua. Monday was the best option weatherwise to go to the Tongariro trek, which located about 2 hours drive to the south, so we had only Sunday to get to the geysers and thermal pools parks before leaving Rotorua. We couldn't pick which park to go so we decided that we'll go to both parks (at least the most to common and recommended parks). That turned out to be a great decision because those 2 parks were completely different. "Wai O Tapu" was the first. Everyday at 10:15 there is an eruption of the biggest geyser called "Lady Knox".

Lady Knox Geyser Lady Knox Geyser

This was so touristic, the geyser's eruption cycle is 24-72 hours if I remember correctly, but they help it erupt everyday at the same time so people can watch it without waiting forever. I can't say I was too impressed, so if you don't have too much time spending in the area/park you can skip this part. The park itself contains so much natural thermal pools and each one has a different color. I called this post nature's photoshop because untill now I thought colors like this can be achieved with "photoshop" only. I didn't edit these photos, only used polarizer filter, which cancels some of the sun reflection on the water, exactly like a polarized sunglasses do (update: I edited some of the photos and updated them in the blog).
A 3 km walk will take you around the whole park. Well I said enough, enjoy the colors.

Wai O Tapu Park Wai O Tapu Park

Wai O Tapu Park Wai O Tapu Park

Wai O Tapu Park Wai O Tapu Park

Wai O Tapu Park Wai O Tapu Park

Wai O Tapu Park Wai O Tapu Park

The second park, "Waimangu", was really different, there were less colorful pools but the environment is completely different, there is one huge thermal lake in the middle of a dense vegetation, looks more like a jungle. The walk in this park in longer, 4 km one way. Don't worry, there are 3 bus stops and you can use the free shuttle to get from each stop to the other one or to the entrance.

Waimangu Park Waimangu Park

Waimangu Park Waimangu Park

Waimangu Park Waimangu Park

Waimangu Park Waimangu Park

Waimangu Park Waimangu Park

Out of these 2, if I had to pick one, I will definitely pick "Wai O Tapu", the pools are more vivid, the colors are unique and the entrance fee was cheaper. Actually, we didn't wanna miss the cultural part so we came back to Rotorua on Tuesday. We booked the "Tamaki Maori Village" activity. They drive you few kilometers into a Maori village, you learn about their calture and eat a typical dinner. It was expensive, but it was worth it. I won't describe the whole thing, there is a welcome ceremony to the village which was really impressive and the rest of the visit was lovely too, the dinner was excellent as well.
Tamaki Maori Village Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village Tamaki Maori Village

I can't compare it to other companies tours but I definitely enjoyed it and can recommend on this one. A nice tip: try to book it through an hostel, some of them will give you a nice discount.