Saturday, 28 September 2013

Kuirau Park

This week I spent a few days in Rotorua, New Zealand. I was at a conference and my sightseeing time was limited, but was able to walk around town one afternoon. Kuirau Park is on the edge of town and offers a fascinating glimpse of the areas geothermal activity, especially if you're not able to get to one of the major tourist areas out of town. It's a council park, so it's free.

My first glimpse was of gorgeous NZ green.

A green you don't often see in Australia
Soon you realise that there's lots of fenced off areas.

 The larger ones have gates and you can walk around inside

Often the view is a bizarre contrast between sulphurous primeval ooze
 and traditional English garden
The pukekos didn't seem to mind the smell too much
Some of the smaller areas you just peer over the fence. Each one was slightly different. It makes you look at the world differently. We tend to look out at our landscape and see stability, rocks, a view that doesn't really change from one day to the next, from one decade to the next. But Rotorua gives you a glimpse of the instability that lies just below the surface. I saw a sign that said Rotorua has an earthquake a day (but Richter 2 and so not felt by us). My taxi driver snorted at that, and said they had more like 30 a day. He was happy about that as the pressure is being released.

This pool was amazing the water was very clear like in a limestone cave
It photographed like a mirror though

Bubbling mud
All over town steam or bubbling water would come up between rocks

More bubbling mud

There's a large lake in the middle of the park. That bridge was minutes away from all the wisteria opening when I saw it. A few of the flowers were out on the other side. The tulips were out all around the lake and very pretty, but there was a busload of Chinese tourists in front of, or in, every stand of tulips.

There are a couple of warm foot baths in the park too, so you can soak your feet for a while in the warm waters.

 The largest geothermal area is up near the corner of Lake Road and Ranolf Street. It's extraordinary.

Cement horse troughs from the early twentieth century
In use til the 1940s
dogs drank from the lower section

It was very eerie walking through this one
the wind constantly shifting the view

The steam was actually quite warm, and fogged up my glasses a few times

I saw a lot of this orange ?lichen near sulphurous areas
Rotorua was an amazing place to visit. There are heaps of activities I would have liked to have tried. I'll have to put it on the list to go back sometime.

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ktford said...

Holey moley!..lovely and fascinating..but, holey moley!

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

the photographs are stunning and you're right ~ what a contrast from the green grass to the desolation of the bubbling mud! What an experience that must have been to walk along the paths ~ thank you for sharing!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Gorgeous shots...I love the steamy ones, and the twisted lichen. That bridge with the mist around it (or steam?) would make a great book cover for a scary read.



Irene said...

what a great adventure, I'd have liked to soak my feet in the warm baths. Amazing, I had no idea such places existed.

Elizabeth said...

Great photos...good photographer too. :)

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Anonymous said...

Amazing photos. I particularly like the 'steamy' ones, and yes, they do look eerie. A wonderful photographer you are. Thanks for sharing these unique views.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) said...

Amazing doesn't even begin to describe what seeing this in person must be like. I knew NZ was volcanic but had no idea the instability was bubbling up in town.

Peggy Ann said...

You win best shots of the week! Gorgeous!

Louise said...

Thanks Peggy Ann.

Leslie, NZ is on an active fault line, and they do get quite a few earthquakes (most famously the terrible Christchurch earthquake a couple of years ago), but Rotorua is famous for it's geothermal nature- most of NZ isn't like this.

westmetromommy said...

What an interesting place! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

betty-NZ said...

Rotorua truly is a strange but gorgeous place! I haven't been to this particular park but I will put it on the list! Your photos are just lovely.

Martha Eskuchen said...

Gorgeous shots! That's a place I would love to visit. How nice that it is free. Thanks for sharing the lovely and varied sites.