IMG_4339IMG_4370We smelled the sulphur miles before we saw the steam from Hell’s Gate near Rotorua in New Zealand. It permeated everything in the area, but we did get accustomed to it as we walked the paths through the geothermal wonder. The Maori people found the pools and the mud therapeutic, and Hell’s Gate featured opportunities for mud baths and soaking in the natural pools.
On this day of our trip we rented a car, drove bravely on the “wrong” side of the road experiencing many round-abouts that made travel sensible and easy to navigate. From the port we took a long route through the countryside as we aimed for the natural hot spot.
The thermal activity is ongoing with bubbling pools of varying temperatures. The site we visited was a favorite of George Bernard Shaw who named some of the pools based on their size, temperature, and activity. The land around the pools was dark and colorless, for the most part. Occasional spots of green appeared where fresh water springs made their way to the surface. A steaming waterfall was part of the area, and it was surrounded by jungle-like growth with interesting trees, vines and flowers.
We took many steamy pictures, as well as pictures showing the contrasts in colors and plant life. The area is a tourist mecca with biking, boating, hiking opportunities. Some parts of the world are to be savored for the views and tranquility. New Zealand is one of those.