Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Orakei Korako

En route between Taupo and Rotorua today, I diverted off the main highways to visit Orakei Korako, a thermal park I had never visited before. What a treasure it was! When you arrive you see steam rising from the bush across a lake, but you really have no idea how extensive the park is going to be. Access is via a short boat trip over the lake, then most of the track is on boardwalk. That might sound 'modern' and 'contrived', but in fact you feel like you have stepped back into some kind of primitive pre-history.
There was so much to see, and I spent much longer there exploring than I thought that I would: these photos just give you a sample.

 One of the amazing features of this park is the amount of coloured thermal algae.

 Steam rises into the air over a large area, but native bush also thrives.

 I don't know whether the thermal environment had anything to do with this or not, but I liked the combination of lines and bubbles. (I presume it is a spiderweb, but I might be quite wrong.)

 Coloured rock, coloured algae, steam.... in so many different ways....

One thing that surprised me was how much bubbling hot water there was.

This fault scarp dated back to 131AD and near it there were small geysers blowing water out quite often.

This was called the Artist's Palette.

 Here is one of the small geysers blowing boiling water forth on the upper plateau- a place to view from above, not to walk across...
One of the pools with boiling mud puddles. Apparently there is more mud action when there has been rain, so winter is a better time to see these looking active. (Check back later for a short bit of video action!)

 So many viewpoints- so much to see...

Then when you think you have nearly finished and seen it all, you pass by this exquisite pool with very hot water bubbling forth.

I loved it at Orakei Korako. There were quite a few visitors, but it never felt crowded. And it felt like I had truly stepped back in time.
Just to finish off- a short bit of video clip of some of the boiling goings-on.


  1. How lovely to see this part of NZ. I didn't realise that the area was so extensive. I've only see the Rotorua area - will visit Orakei Korako definitely after seeing your lovely photos, thank you.
    {I've just visited Yellowstone USA - lots of similar scenes.}

  2. What an amazing place. It rather overshadows Rotorua where I was gobsmacked at seeing steam rising from the ground, bubbling hot water and mud pools.

  3. I had only ever seen the sights closer to Rotorua before- this is slightly off the main roads so you do have to seek it out. I was stunned by the extent of it.

  4. Those colours are amazing - I can see why one is called the Artist's Palette, and that spiders web is beautiful!

  5. I loved the spider's web too Jayne. Liliane- I have sore muscles in my thighs today. I am well past the days of Camino walking fitness and will have to do something to regain some!

  6. Amazing nature, thanks for introduce us such a breathtaking landscape.

  7. I was very impressed by Yellowstone when we visited in 2009. However, Orakei Korako is amazing. Thanks for the pictures Kiwi Nomad.


  8. Some of that boiling, primeval stuff reminded me of Terrence Malik's film 'The Tree Of Life' which I saw with my son in Manchester two days ago ...

  9. Just fabulous. Thanks for sharing!