Geysers and Alien Landscapes

Contrary to all predictions, and for the first time since the South Island, we actually saw the sun on Wednesday morning! Our first destination of the day was the Wai-o-tapu geyser since it spouts exactly once a day at 10:15am. For some reason I found this slightly disappointing — I suppose as a natural phenomenon seeing a column of water 15m tall is quite impressive, but this sort of geothermal/volcanic area is not exactly most awe-stunningly beautiful natural landscape and I found myself thinking ‘Cool, I wonder how it works’ rather than ‘wow!’.

After the geyser we toured the associated ‘Thermal Wonderland’ park which contained a myriad of bizarre and colourful, and very smelly, landscapes created by the geothermal activity. The entire place looked very alien—I thought it was incredibly ugly and possibly the least scenic area I’d seen in NZ, but it was quite amazing to see how impressively different and un-earth-like the landscape was.