Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Events in Rotorua
and Accommodation in Rotorua
Adventure in Rotorua
on the lookout for travel photographs and stories this fellow tends
to go to a tourist spot, grab a map and then mooch off alone to
is rare guided groups grab my fancy. However, I reckon if you are
visiting the forbidding Hell's
Gate Thermal Reserve near Rotorua
in New Zealand it would pay to have a guide, for the area is packed
with interesting tales and happenings that you won't get without
of them relate to the Maori tribal owners of the land, while other
anecdotes are more like public service announcements telling you
what has happened to folk who have wandered off the clearly marked
paths and ended up in very hot water. Literally.
keeping to the paths I was led to the Kakahi
Falls, which happen to be the largest hot water falls in the
steaming water running over them is around 40 degrees Celcius -
just perfect for a luxurious bath or shower.
In fact local Maori warriors used to sit on the falls after battle
and clean their wounds. It seemed those treated in Kakahi Falls
water healed more quickly than others - possibly due to their being
tapu, or sacred.
the waterfall is a hill that is a Maori burial ground and so one
cannot discount the validity of that argument. Because the falls
are sacred to Maori women are not allowed on them.
guide said one Frenchwoman decided that was very unPolitically Correct
and decided to break the tapu. She broke another thing - she fell
over and smashed her arm!
of the highlights of Hell's Gate is the Mud
Volcano, the largest one in New Zealand. It is an amazing object
and stands about 1.8 metres high and has a diameter of maybe 5 metres.
its centre is a small crater of dark-brown-grey boiling mud. Fortunately
I was able to see inside courtesy of one of the park's bosses who
showed me the right side to stand on this cone.
the safe side of the dense and hard-packed mud there are no problems.
One scientist picked the wrong, soft side and sank into the boiling
mud up to his chest. It was helicopter trip and eight months in
hospital for him.
Nearby is a hole in the thin crust covering a steaming pond that
marks where a young woman wandered out to get a better photo. She
was lucky to only get burned up to her knees.
accidents happen rarely but they do strike home how silly people
are not to stick to the approved pathways.
areas of interest at Hells Gate include:
pop into this tempting pool as you'll learn that it is a rather
acidic fluid. It hasn't ever been used to bathe in, although water
drawn from it makes a super insect repellent for fruit and vegetables.
five pools of the area known as the Inferno vary in both depth and
temperature. The deepest is 15m, while the hottest is a whopping
110 degrees Celcius. Do not throw things into these pools as any
blockage of the vents could results in a new pool bursting out through
The Steaming Cliffs
place could truly be one of the gates to hell. Its waters bubble
and spout at 122 degrees Celsius and the steam that pours off it
rolls and twists around the cliffs.
this would be a perfect spot for a midnight dip - a warm green lake
in a secluded area. The local Maori have used this pool as a healing
bath for hundreds of years. The mud in it is used in the therapy
products available from Hell's Gate.
don't forget that in the rain, the hot water features - particularly
Kakahi Falls - are even more spectacular.
Gate is about 16 kilometres from Rotorua on the road to Whakatane
and is about a 20 minute drive from the city centre.
you have finished your walk around Hell's Gate you may want to take
time out to relax in the mud baths or get a relaxing massage in
the opulent health centre.
are heaps of things to do at Hell's Gate and its spa so here is
the link to its prices and services.