Thursday, October 15, 2009


There are many interesting aspects of Rotorua that are unique to New Zealand and to Rotorua itself. Rotorua is an active volcano zone with many other intriguing qualities like the Maori culture; geothermal earth forces and 16 separate lakes! There are also tons of mud pools and exciting geysers locate in Rotorua. The thermal activity from the active volcano is what gives Rotorua its "famous sulfur smell." Kurai park is located within Rotorua and has mud pools, craters and "sulphur vents."
The actual volcano is Mt. Tarawera, which is not technically located in Rotorua but which is actually 25 miles southeast. Mt. Tarawera is actually a dormant volcano and visitors can fly to visit it from Rotorua. The beginning of the thermal activity began in Lake Rotorua, which used to actually be a violent active volcano. After the molten magma chamber that lay within the volcano collapsed, the chamber filled with water leaving a large lake. There are other thermal areas located in Rotorua as well including Whakarewarewa, Waimangu Valley, Wai-o-Tapu and Hell's Gate. A famed geyser, the Pohutu geyser, located in the Whakarewarewa thermal area, actually erupts multiple times during the day.
The Maori culture is also a very interesting aspect of Rotorua's history. These indigenous people actually contain over a third of Rotorua's population. Rotorua also contains a beautiful redwood forest. Christened "under the sails" people can go to visit this peaceful alcove and see some extremely old wildlife within the Redwoods.



Tongariro national park, like Rotorua, is also a place rich with Maori culture and also volcanic history. This national park is located on the North Island near the towns of Turangi and Ohakune. This national park has 3 volcanoes named Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, which exist at the heart of the park. The volcanic activity is active and the volcanoes are 2 million years old. Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are 2 of the most active volcanoes in the world including the eruptions in 1995 and 1996.
This national park is rich in contrasting land. There are "chaotic, barren lava flows, winter snowfields, hot springs and active craters" which all exist in the same place. There are many varying plants within the park including "alpine herbs to thick swathes of tussocks and flax, from the hardy, low-growing shrubs of the Rangipo gravel-field to dense beech forests," and these plants flourish although the park is a harsh environment for plants.
Many interesting animals also thrive in the park including the only mammals in New Zealand, the short and long tailed bats. There are also a large variety of birds including north Island robins, fantails, parakeets and even a kereru.Tongariro national park was the first national park in New Zealand, founded in 1887. It is a very beautiful and exotic place to visit with a lot of interesting different biological and cultural phenomenon including the volcanoes and the essence of the Maori culture.



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