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The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

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One of the things that struck me most in New Zealand is the difference in landscape between the Northern and Southern laws. The north is mainly volcanic, as the volcanic valley of Waimangu and in the South Island most of the mountains have been formed after movements of tectonic plates. However there are dated at least 4 volcanoes, counteracting more than 20 volcanoes on the North Island. This diversity makes New Zealand a really interesting country and Waimangu An ideal place to know the bowels of the Earth.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

The Waimangu volcanic valley

On a crazy day we decided to visit Waimangu. Crazy because in the morning we visit a fairly similar place, the thermal area of Wai-o-Tapu, not far from here as about 10 kilometers, but as in the area there is nothing else to see we had no choice but to repeat activity and enjoy volcanoes, geysers, boiling mud and hot water pools, ..., etc. .


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

Waimangu It is a unique place. To begin with, it is a relatively young valley, no more than 130 years old and although it may seem a lie all of it was very lush green hills. All this vergel disappeared on June 10, 1886 when the Tarawera volcano After a violent explosion that killed 120 people, it began to lift the entire valley forming new craters and geysers, many of them visible today. But the most shocking was the creation of largest geyser in the world which was only active 4 years. So spectacular was that it threw water up to 400 meters high every 36 hours. Today the geyser is almost not visible by the vegetation.

Visiting Waimangu

After paying the 37$ at the entrance and be surprised how easy it was to park (Wai-o-Tapu is another song ...) they handed us the documentation of the park, in a perfect Spanish what was appreciated. In it we read that from the entrance to the end point, the Rotomahana lake, there were 4 kilometers that can be traversed in 1,5h. To this we should add an optional route that passed through the Inferno Crater which from my point of view is essential.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

Best of all, when we reached the end we could take a bus that would leave us at the entrance, therefore we must not travel the road 2 times. Well, with all this information in mind we took a path that went down the hill to a lake that we left on the right, the Southern crater.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

It was at this moment when it started to rain heavily and thanks to the trees and our raincoats we did not end up running through water. The funny thing that as the water was a cool tad, is falling on the water of the Echo Crater next to Cathedral Rocks, our next lake, made the contrast of hot and cold water even more noticeable and smoke coming from all sides. At least that was my humble diagnosis but later they told me that the water is colder than I thought and that the bubbles that came out were due to a mixture of carbon dioxide and sulfurized hydrogen, although certainly the lake bed is hot.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

Apparently it was only a slightly rebellious cloud since the rain stopped and we could resume the route without any mishap. Already with the sun as an ally we arrived at a crossroads that led to Inferno Crater or to nearby Birds Nest Terrace. As this second one was relatively close we headed there having a mind turning around to climb the Inferno Crater.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

He Birds Nest Terrace as its name in English indicates, they are terraces with bird nest shapes which are really beautiful geysers, which we can see on all sides. Of course, quite small.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

After the delight with the contrast of colors we turned around and took the road to Inferno Crater. The route is called Mount Haszard and is classified as difficult given the more state of the road and the steep slopes that must be saved. Therefore not recommended for people in very low form.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

We began to climb a path that contrary to what we read was in frankly good condition, at least at the beginning. Carved stairs on the ground, railings and even benches to rest at the end of each slope. All this to be able to reach the Inferno Crater No problem. Then later it would be another song.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

We arrive at Inferno Crater which as you can see has a spectacular blue. This exploded the same day he did Haszard volcano In 1886 and today is quiet, except for its waters that rise and fall following a curious cycle.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

From here the good road ends and the hard begins. Very strong ramps inside an excessively leafy forest awaited us, which made it difficult to see the rest of craters like the Black crater and the Fairy Crater, almost hidden by trees.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

Once this tortuous part is finished we reach the valley again and continue along the main path until Warbrick terrace. A set of silica platforms of many colors. In the brochure it said that the name had been given in honor of the family Warbrick, some tour guides who exploited the area in the early twentieth century and that unfortunately one of them died after a violent explosion of the extinct geyser Waimangu.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

We follow the path to him Rotomahana lake where we did not intend to take the ship over 40$... And luckily we didn't do it since we didn't even reach the jetty. It could rain heavily and this time I had no intention of stopping.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

At least the lake we could see from the heights when doing the trekking through the Mount haszard and thanks to this we did not leave with a bad taste. In addition, the best thing is that the bus took a very short time to arrive, just 5 minutes so we arrived early at the entrance of the park and headed to Rotorua, just 30 kilometers from Waimangu.


The Waimangu volcanic valley in New Zealand

Practical data

Before leaving for New Zealand

  • New Zealand's Planet Planet Guide
  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental in New Zealand with 15% discount
  • New Zealand map

How much is admission?

Prices vary every year but the stipulated price for the 2016/2017 season is 37$ and if you hire the boat they are 80$.

What time does Waimangu have?

It opens at 08:30 AM and closes at 17:00, except in January that closes one hour later.

How do internal buses work?

Waimangu can be traveled by bus which has 3 stops in the main sites. The bus leaves every hour or 45 minutes from the entrance and returns from Lake Rotomahana with the same frequency. To take into account that the last bus leaves from the lake at 16:50.

Where to sleep?

It is best to sleep in Rotorua, less than 30 minutes from Waimangu. As we went with a motorhome through New Zealand, we decided to look for a campsite to be able to recharge all the elements of the vehicle and be able to plug in the electric heating.

When to go?

The place can be visited all year round but of course the ideal is to do it in summer, between the months of December to February.

What to wear

A comfortable shoe, sunscreen and some food is enough. There are no soda machines or food inside the park.

Other places on the North Island that you must visit

  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the most popular route in New Zealand.
  • The thermal area of ​​Wai-o-Tapu.
  • New Zealand. Land of Hobbits - Hobbiton.

Travel insurance

For a trip like this it is best to take out insurance. Iati offers us a offer for followers Travel for free. Traveling does not exempt you from having an accident, needing a doctor, a transfer or medication. Do not play it. Check the travel insurance by clicking on the banner and you will have a 5% in your insurance for being a reader of Travel for free. If you want more information click here.

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