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Places In New Zealand: The Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk

Basic Information


Craters of the Moon Narrative

New Zealand’s north island is well known for its volcanic and geothermal wonders spread out across the island. One of these wonders is the Craters of the Moon:

The Craters of the Moon is located in valley just north of the city of Taupo in the center of the island. The geothermal activity in this valley did not even exist until the 1950’s when a geothermal power station was constructed nearby that changed the dynamics of the region’s geothermal activity. This change caused new steam vents, craters, and mud pools to form in this valley:


The valley can only be walked across in most areas by a wooden walkway due to threat of a geothermal crater opening up below visitors. The walkway is filled with many signs warning visitors to stay on the wooden walkway due to this danger. The valley is literally alive and always shifting and changing with the geothermal pressure below the ground.

When you see steaming craters like this one below, you definitely would hate to fall into one:


Most of the craters in the valley are extremely active and pumping out hot steam all around visitors on the walkway:


Even the hillsides are littered with hot steaming craters:



The large volcano that overlooks the city of Taupo is just one reminder of where the heat that powers these steam vents comes from:


The craters that are not pumping out much steam allows visitors to get up close and see the colorful sides of the crater:


Trees cannot grow on the floor of the valley because of the amount of heat and the unstable nature of the ground, which instead causes small plant species to flourish:


The largest crater towards the end of the valley is the one that features a large mud pool:


You can just imagine how hot the ground must be to boil mud:


A side track from the main trail leads up the side of the valley:


From the side of the hill you can look down into a few of the craters:


The most interesting about the craters on the hillside is how loud the boiling water is.  The best thing about hiking up the side of the hillside is the fantastic view overlooking the valley and the distant city of Taupo:


Hey there is my wife down there!:


The valley is a must see if in the Taupo area as it is cheap to visit and you can easily spend two hours or more walking around the valley checking out its many geothermal wonders. Just make sure not to fall into one.

Next Posting: Video of the Craters of the Moon

Prior Posting: Taupo Museum

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