Exploring New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland
On New Zealand’s North Island, an active geothermic reserve houses hot springs of multiple colors and extraordinary volcanic formations. The reserve’s name, Wai-O-Tapu, or “sacred waters,” comes from the indigenous Māori language and alludes to the area’s unique geologic offerings. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a tourist center within the reserve that provides visitors with a taste of the distinctive geologic attractions. Some of the popular landmarks include colorful pools of water created from mixtures of minerals and bubbling carbon dioxide, erupting mud pools and a geyser that shoots out boiling water every morning. The conservation area was formerly the largest mud volcano in the country until its crown eroded in the early 90s, leaving the steaming springs and fizzling silts that continue to attract local and visiting Instagrammers alike.