Journals from New Zealand (University of Waikato)
2010-08-17 Viva Roto-Vegas!
Here is a picture of the boiling mud at Wai-o-tapu!
Last weekend, we decided to reward ourselves for spending one month in New Zealand and took a trip down to Rotorua, the town known for its various tourist attractions. The combination of geothermal activity and adventure appeal won this town the nickname Roto-vegas. Logan and I, along with one other friend, rode the Nakedbus to Rotorua on Friday evening, and spent the weekend doing as much as we possibly could! We took advantage of the geothermal aspect of the city and went on three different walks around areas filled with boiling mud pools, sulfur caves, geysers, and a whole bunch of other neat things. They were pretty lengthy and we spent an entire day exploring the Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland and the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. We were completely enthralled by the reactions caused by all the geothermal activity- there were mud pools where the mud was literally bubbling and seemed to erupt from the below the surface of the water, and many lakes with their own unique features. A really popular place in Wai-o-tapu is called the Artists Palette. Its a small lake with different colors and patterns on the surface of the water- there were blue, green, orange, and yellow designs that would change over time. The edge of the lake was filled with professional photographers all trying to capture the natural beauty. It was really amazing! After walking and hiking for the entire day, we decided to pamper ourselves with award-winning spa treatments. We went to a hot water spring, mud pool, and a sulfur pool. We lounged in each spa pool and revived our bodies for the next days adventures! The weather wasnt really cooperating with us that weekend- it was really rainy and a few of our plans got canceled, but we were determined to make a trip out of our weekend, so we planned around it. One of my goals for the entire time I am in New Zealand is to see a real-life kiwi bird. Thanks to the rainy weather, we ended up at the Paradise Springs Wildlife Park, which had three kiwis! Kiwi birds are nocturnal, flightless birds with long beaks and brown feathers. When we first arrived in New Zealand and had our orientation, one of the speakers made a joke and compared kiwi birds to the kiwi people: All kiwis are the same, they only come out at night! It was a funny joke, but he wasnt joking. Not many people are out and about during the day, but that surely isnt the case after dark! Anyway, besides kiwi birds, the park had a wide range of other interesting animals. There was a section with indigenous birds, another with introduced animals, and a few miscellaneous areas. The one creature that definitely caught my attention was the New Zealand Longfin Eel. Its an eel endemic to New Zealand and was over 4 feet long and weighed over 28 pounds! Ive never seen anything like it! Ill admit it gave me the creeps, but it was really neat!