During my visit to New Zealand in 2007, I spent a morning at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. When I wrote Where My Heart Resides, I determined that my characters needed to visit the park too.
Wai-O-Tapu features erupting geysers, spitting mud pools, colorful scalding hot pools, and the stench of sulphur.
Join me for a quick tour.
The Lady Knox Geyser erupts sporadically every twenty-four to forty-eight hours, but that means you never know when to be present. So the park rangers help it out. The story goes that, a century ago, convicts discovered how to cause an eruption when they washed their clothes using soap powder. Imagine their surprise when their laundry shot up into the air.
Below the ground are two layers of water of differing temperatures. The soap breaks the tension between the two, and an eruption occurs. On a good day, it can go up twenty meters.
The harsh conditions around steam vents allow no vegetation.
Sulphur deposits paint the steaming lakes in various bright colors.
Mineral terraces offer more color.
If you ever have the chance to visit New Zealand, don’t miss it.