Burn, Baby, Burn

In a previous post regarding The Coffee Pot, I mention Sulphur Point.  But where and what, pray tell, is Sulphur Point?

No, it’s not the smelly beginnings of Hell.  It is actually a small peninsula at the southern end of Lake Rotorua.  After wandering through Government Gardens (a beautiful, free public garden), we accidentally found the boardwalk that weaves along Sulphur Bay.   It was a serendipitous accident for a geothermal lover as interspersed along the boardwalk are notable springs (e.g. Cameron’s Laughing Gas Pool – I’ll explain next post) and mud pools (e.g. The Coffee Pot).  But the Lake itself is just as interesting due to its unique geothermal properties.  Most of the Lake foreshore at this point is off-limits, which is clearly obvious by the wooden fencing.

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Not so much a lake as a steaming, hot sulphur flat.

Apparently this fence and its accompanying “DO NOT CROSS” sign is not universally viewed as a warning.  I assumed this as a tourist was well beyond the fence and risking literally life and limb and more importantly, messing about with the sulphur flat’s ecology.  Being a “rules” person, I shook my head while loudly “tsk-tsking” the tourist (admittedly with almost too much enthusiasm).

But anyway, enough safety warnings.  Lake Rotorua is actually a caldera, or volcanic crater, which resulted from a huge eruption that emptied its magma chamber.  The volcano than collapsed upon itself forming the crater that is there today.  Continue filling it with water, mud and sulphur for 220,000 odd years and ta-da!  You have Lake Rotorua as it is known today.  Sulphur Point is a highly active geothermal section of the Lake and there are fumaroles (vents) that still release sulphur, as can be seen in the photos above and below.  The ground surface of this area is very unpredictable and fragile – in some parts it is reported to be centimetres thick, hence the “DO NOT CROSS” signs.

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Geothermal eggshells – don’t try to hot-foot it across here.

Rotorua really is an amazing geothermal phenomena and a trip to Sulphur Point to means you can enjoy the balmy steam, sulphur-y aromas and information signs for free!


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