11/09/2014 – 493 days/44036 miles

Rotorua is a major tourist destination in New Zealand, known for it’s geothermal activity, and the smells that complement it.
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There are some geothermal pools in town, which are free to visit, but there are a few more parks where a lot more can be seen, but the entry fee for all the parks is quite high for the amount of time you’ll spend there.

So first up, what you’ll see walking around town…
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I spent half a day hiking around Waimangu Volcano Valley. There was a massive volcanic eruption here in 1886, which drastically changed the landscape. There are a few old photos from shortly after the eruption that show the permanent changes that have taken place, and they also show how little vegetation was present after the eruption, which has obviously now grown back.
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This is the Inferno Crater. The color can very from a dull gray to a bright blue, which I was lucky enough to see, as it’s not in this state very commonly. The depth of the water can fluctuate by up to 12 meters, and the temp can vary between 95 and 165 degrees F (35-75 C).
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Not far down the road from Waimangu, you can find the Mud Pool, which is one of the few free attractions in the area. As the name suggests, it’s a mud pool…as the region suggests, it’s bubbling, and probably hot.
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And as photos don’t quite do the area justice, here’s a short video, wind noise included. To make the experience more realistic, you’d need to be able to smell it…just imagine that there’s someone sitting next to you that just ate a couple dozen hard boiled eggs.

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