On a Whim Wm's world travels

15 Apr 2005

Rotorua and Taupo

Filed under: General,New Zealand — wm @ 9:44 pm

Had a quick trip up to the central plateau of the North Island. I think it was the longest we have been without seeing the ocean, but there are huge lakes, including Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand. It is in the caldera of an enormous collapsed volcano. When it erupted 25,000 years ago, it covered the entire north island of New Zealand under 100 meters of ash and lava.

First stop was Tongariro National Park, which includes 3 active volcanoes, two of which were used in The Lord of the Rings. Mt Ngauruhoe was Mt Doom. Mt Ruapehu last erupted in 1995 and 1996, although the major problem was that it ruined the ski season. We stayed in the Grand Chateau, one of the more famous hotels in New Zealand, which is right between two of the volcanoes. Unfortunately, this time of year you can’t actually see the volcanoes, because of all the clouds (it is autumn here). So we went onto Taupo. The entire area around Taupo, and on up to Rotorua, is covered in hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and other volcanic features.

Rotorua is also know as a center for Maori culture. We went to two different traditional dances, a traditional Maori meal, called a Hangi, which is cooked in the ground with hot rocks.

I’ve uploaded lots of photos, at http://www.leler.com/NZ-Apr/

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