Most people are familiar with the smell associated with Rotorua, but did you know Taupo has its own gassy aromas? Contrary to popular belief, I did not create the stink. Taupo, situated along the Thermal Explorer Highway in the North Island, has an extensive geothermal history including the mystical, lunar-like Craters of the Moon. There is a small admission fee but it is well-worth the dollars to experience this unique environment and also to set-up smoke-breathing photos as below (and contributing anonymously to the stink, obviously):
Craters of the Moon has two tracks creatively named “Main Track” and “Top Track”. The “Main Track” is a loop that circles through a moon-like landscape that feels completely otherworldly. It’s an interesting combination of thermal bubbling mud pools and steam vents. I felt like an Orc invasion was waiting just over the hill.
Interestingly, Craters of the Moon is a result of the construction of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station in the 1950s. Underground water pressure was lowered and as a result SERIOUSLY HOT water, steam and mud began breaking through the grounds’ surface. It is an amazing and ever changing landscape and the boardwalk route is altered as the geothermal activity changes. It goes without saying it’s an incredibly risky business straying from the designated paths. “Don’t be a dork, stick to the Boardwalk.” I might patent that.