Situated on the shore of Lake Ohakuri in the thermal valley between Taupo and Rotorua lies the 'hidden valley' of Orakei Korako geyserland and cave. Orakei Korako is translated from Maori as 'The Place of Adorning'. Mo, Fiona and I went there on Monday. It is described in The Lonley Planet as 'possibly the best thermal area in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world'. When one has seen some of the other thermal areas in the vicinity it's a bit difficult to assess and compare because Wai-o-Tapu (which I shall do a posting on at some time) appears to me from my memory of it to be even more interesting and (presumably, as it appears in a different area of the book was written by a separate author) is described in the same book as 'possible the best thermal area'. Ah well one should never take at face value what one reads in books (or Blogs) anyway.
About two thirds of the original thermal area is under water - Lake Ohakuri - so the area to be visited has to be reached by a short boat crossing which is interesting and allows n overall view of the area before the walk round it.
The Ruatapu Cave or Sacred Cave is one of only two geothermally situated caves known in the world. Its origin is uncertain.
Waiwhakaata (pool of mirrors) rests serenely at the bottom of the cave where one has 'wisehd for the stars'. When one gets to the water it is so clear and still that while we were there two people actually stepped into it without realising where the edge was. I put my hand down first and was actually very surprised to put it into water that I really could not see: very warm water too.
Te Kapua (the Cloud) or The Golden Fleece (below) stands 5m high and is 40m long. It is the third of the scarp faults formed in 131 AD when the world's greatest known volcano - Lake Taupo - was erupting. It is an ever changing area.
Kohua Poharu mud pools form where the thermal fluids have chemically decomposed surface rocks to form clay. The clay is heated by underground energy sources and boiling mud is created.