Sizzling & Simmering – Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley

As the world’s youngest geothermal system, Waimangu is yet to settle down. The simmering landscape was created in 1886 by the eruption of Mt Tarawera in New Zealand’s north island. The current landscape of bubbling hot springs, craters, smoking fissures and stromatolite structures recall a geological age when the earth was still young. As Rotorua’s main tourist attraction, it provides insights into unique ecology, rare botany and geothermal features that are hard to find all in one place, anywhere.

A protected scenic reserve and wildlife refuge Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley comprises of volcanic craters including Lake Rotomahan, which is made up of 15 coalescing craters that displaced another New Zealand attraction, pink and white terraces that were swept away in the 1886 eruption. The eruption also created the Waimanu Geyser thought to be the most powerful in the world. However this disappeared in a landslide in 1904. Among the other extraordinary features in the valley is the Frying Pan Lake the largest hot spring in the world, so named because of the sizzling and crackling noises it makes. Inferno Crater Lake where temperatures reach 80 degrees C, Cathedral Rocks which at any given time expel clouds of sulphurous steam and Emerald Pools a sparkling bright green water body coloured by the moss that thrive in it, are the other amazing features here.

Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley is spread over a large area and offers a range of options for those who wish to explore the nature reserve. A range of easy eco walks take participants through areas of different geothermal activity, bird habitats and native plants. The advanced hiking trail starts at Inferno Lake and goes high into the surrounding mountains where hikers can enjoy views of the geothermal features of the valley below. Boat trips on Lake Rotomahana, the deepest in North Island, introduce visitors to wild life and endangered endemic birds. Some of the valley’s geothermal features can only be seen from the boat. Lake Rotomahana and its surroundings is a strict nature reserve and are protected from development. Patiti Island in the centre of the lake is being landscaped into a refuge for native birds.

If being in the centre of activity is a priority, Millennium Hotel Rotorua with its central location, providing easy access to many of the city’s commercial, business areas and attractions is the ideal base for short or long city stays. This prominent hotel in Rotorua offers comfortable, well appointed guest rooms and suites and a range of facilities and services that cater well to the needs of business and leisure guests and their families. Take advantage of some of the best hotel deals in town to have a great break at this popular Rotorua hotel.

Umanga Kahandawaarachchi is a passionate travel writer who writes under the pen name, Maggie Tulliver. Her field of writing covers a wide array of content and articles related to travel and hospitality industry.