Volcanoes, Geysers, and Doom at Wai-O-Tapu

Vagabond Tim
Having recently visited the Shire I decided it was time to see Mount Doom, several fairly incredulous locals informed me that:

A. It doesn’t exist
and
B. One could not simply walk to it if it did.

Somewhat dejected I opted for the next best thing, Boiling pits of mud and acid around the what they claimed was the worlds second largest geyser. Not being an expert on boiling water ejected from the center of the earth I decided to take their claims at face value and go see it in person.

The story of the Lady Knox geyser is essentially that a bunch of prisoners were doing some kind of undoubtedly horrible work nearby and needed to give their clothes a wash. I became somewhat suspicious at this point as the entire area if filled with deadly reeking water and if I lived nearby the last thing I would be thinking of is giving my clothes a good laundering, anyhow they decided to dump some soap into the water resulting in the massive eruption of the geyser. I am not even going to speculate how an unexpected and sudden eruption of fluid relates to the governors second daughter, the aforementioned Lady Knox (Constance to her friends) but they named it after her anyway.

After what amounted to a few seconds of water spraying skyward we decided to wander around the surrounding hellscape and see what other frightening places there were to see. Among them was the champagne pool pictured on the right which is way bigger than it appears in my photo, and the devils bath which is luminescent green and caused my camera to fail miserably at capturing such an unbelievable and implausible colour.

Walking through a landscape created by an impressionist painter at the tail end of a mushroom binge was in a word surreal. As we got slightly further from the epicenter of the madness the area became rather tranquil and beautiful, although I noticed it was in fact still steaming quite a bit. Between the inviting steam and rather calm appearance I was quite tempted to at least touch the water if not go for a wee bit of a swim, it was then that I noticed all the signs informing me that this was a bad idea… well I assume that is what a sign depicting a screaming stickman next to a “+100C” thermometer means.

The sulfurous lake of boiling mud is fun to look at but somewhat less fun to smell

I am certain some geologist could tell me WHY the ‘champagne pool’ looks like this, but all I cared about was that it was gorgeous and terrifying at the same time

Seen through the trees the deadly lakes of boiling acid seem almost tranquil, luckily there were enough people nearby to stop me from touching it

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