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Random musings and whimsy.

Orakei Korako

"...possibly the best thermal area left in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world..."- Lonely Planet Guide

Click here if you cannot see the video above to open the YouTube page in a new window.

Orakei Korako, a Māori name, translated into English as "the place of adorning", also known as "the hidden valley".

It has remained almost completely unchanged for thousands of years, even though 20 million litres of hot water flow over its silica terraces every day.

Enjoy a short tiki tour of some of its highlights featured in this film.

Access is by ferry across Lake Ohakuri, about 25 minutes north of Taupo and 45 minutes south of Rotorua.

The Emerald Terrace (so called as it extends 35 metres under the lake's water, thus has a distinct hue), greets you.

Past the Diamond Geyser (ejecting boiling water up to 8 metres, its water jet shatters into a million droplets, sparkling like diamonds in the sunlight), "Aniwaniwa" - the Rainbow and Cascade Terrace is found.

One of three great fault scarps formed by the last eruption of the world's greatest known volcano - the Taupo volcano (now a caldera, filled by Lake Taupo), around 131AD. The diverse colours are created by algae growth in water temperatures up to 60°C.

Having numerous small geysers erupting at its base, another striking fault scarp, called "Te Kapua" (The Cloud) by the Māori people, "The Golden Fleece" is 5 metres high and 40m long.

"Kei Runga Ite Mania" was formed by hydrothermal eruptions between 8000 and 14000BC. The expansive, kidney shaped silica area features a myriad of browns, greens, yellows, oranges and pinks, pock marked by over 120 crystal clear blue pools. It is hence (very appropriately) known as "The Artist's Palette".

The Ruatapu Cave (Sacred Cave) is preeminent - the video sincerely does not do it justice. One of only two geothermally situated caves known in the world. A 45 metre descent takes you to "Waiwhakaata" (the pool of mirrors), resting serenely at the bottom. Legend has it that if you put your left hand in the water and make a wish it is guaranteed to come true! The water's acidity and chemical composition also has the peculiar ability to naturally clean jewellery.

The steaming, boiling "Kohua Poharu" mud pools, hot springs and "Waiariki" soda fountain can also be found during the meander back through one of the largest Ponga (silver tree fern, Kiwi native and emblem) forests.

Other features (not appearing) such as "Elephant Rock", "Devil's Throat" and "Map of Africa" truly have to be seen to be properly appreciated.

Music - Now We Are Free by Hans Zimmer.


Date & Time Posted 10:32 PM, Sunday, 8 February 2009, by Faber Optimé.
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