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On Walkabout In: The Te Puia (Te Whakarewarewa) Thermal Valley – Part 2

The Te Puia Thermal Valley is located on the outskirts of New Zealand’s premier tourist resort city of Rotorua. The valley is owned by the local Maori tribe the Tuhourangi – Ngati Wahiaowhich calls the valley Whakarewarewa in their local dialect. Obviously Te Puia is a lot more easier to pronounce and thus the most popular name for this stunning thermal valley:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Whakarewarewa is the actual name of the valley and the more popular Te Puia label is actually the name of an ancient Maori fortress in the center of the valley:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

This fortress was first constructed and occupied in 1325. The fortress is terraced and uses the natural thermal features of valley for added defensive measures. The local Maoris know the paths through the thermal pools and geysers which any invaders would not:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Due to this fact know rival Maori tribe was ever able to invade the area and capture the Maori fortress. However the fortress is just a side show for any walk through this valley. The undisputed star of this valley is the incredible Pohutu Geyser:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Pohutu means big splash or explosion in the local Maori dialect and visitors to the valley can see big splashes and explosions from this geyser when it erupts every hour:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

As I walked around the geyser I did have to keep my camera under my shirt to protect from the water that was raining down all around me.  When walking around the geyser I was able to see the multitude of minerals that add bright colors to the surrounding rocks:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

There are other geysers around the valley, but they do not erupt as frequently as Pohutu:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

The valley at one time had 65 active geysers, but only 7 erupt at various times today. The reason for this reduction in geothermal activity is because much of the underground heat and pressure that causes the geysers to explode has been removed with local businesses drilling and accessing the underground heat and water for commercial purposes. Today residents and businesses in Rotorua can no longer drill to access the hot water which will protect the few remaining geysers in the valley.

Here is an example of one of the many dead geysers located in the valley:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Besides the geysers the valley has 500 various mineral pools with many of them being toxic but even toxic pools can be quite beautiful:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Other pools are not so beautiful:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Then other pools are muddy and filled with minerals that the local Maoris use to cook their food in:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

The valley also has a creek that runs through the center of it where the boiling hot water from the geyser and other hot pools drains into:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Besides the geysers and pools the valley has vents that just blows out nothing but hot air.  The valley is filled with other strange thermal features every where you go to include the ground in this area being pushed up by hot gas below the surface:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

No trip to Rotorua would be complete without a trip to this wonderful valley. The Maori people of own this land have allowed the public to visit the site since 1998 and has become one of the top tourist attractions of Rotorua:

Picture from Te Puia Thermal Valley

The valley is easy to access because it is just on the outskirts of the city and is impossible to miss because of the huge sign located along the side of the highway.  On the below map you can see that the thermal area is located on the southern end of the city:

There is plenty of parking and you might want to bring a water bottle because you can easily spend a half day walking all the trails in the valley. Make sure you budget enough time to see the Maori museums, woodshops, live kiwi birds, and cultural performances which are all must sees as well. Truly an all day experience that can’t be missed.

Next Posting: Video from Te Puia Thermal Valley

Prior Posting: Experience Maori Culture at Te Puia Thermal Valley

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