When George Bernard Shaw visited the Wai -O- Tapu Thermal Fields in New Zealand in 1934 he said they reminded him of hell. In 2008 we spent Christmas day hiking at the Thermal Fields which had been highly recommended by our friends Hans and Chris Neufeld. Hans had even sent us a lengthy excerpt from the journal he kept during their visit to New Zealand and his thought provoking comments and detailed descriptions guided us from one trail site to another.
The first thing we did was watch the explosion of the Lady Knox Geyser. Everyday at 10:15 a Wai- O – Tapu staff member puts a little soap powder in the geyser and it erupts. Apparently this first happened nearly a hundred years ago when some inmates from a nearby prison were sent to the pool around the geyser to do the prison laundry. The soap they added to the water caused the geyser to erupt and sent all the prisoners fleeing in terror
As we hiked through the 18 sq. km park colorful signs explained the natural phenomena we were seeing. New Zealand is located right where two of the earth’s tectonic plates meet and they are constantly colliding with one another. This causes all kinds of other-wordly-like scenes- steaming lakes, shooting geyers, bubbling mud pools, colorful waterfalls, sulphuric craters.
Dave was our hike navigator. He kept checking out the map to be sure we were still heading in the right direction. There were many lakes in the park of various colors. The colors of the lakes and pools depended on the kinds of mineral elements they contained. Dave looks out over Oyster Bay colored green by various ferrous salts and colloidal sulphur.
It was a hot sunny day and after several hours of hiking we decided it was time to leave for Napier. I took a picture of these natural grasses before we left the park. I had seen them growing all over and thought they were lovely. After our visit to hell we drove to Grandvue Country Stay a bed and breakfast near Napier operated by Dianne and Keith Taylor.
Dianne and Keith had run a vegetable and fruit farm for many years but retired to this lovely country property. We arrived on Christmas Day in the afternoon and were warmly welcomed and included in the Christmas family gathering. We were introduced to Dianne and Keith’s children and grandchildren and got to sample all the wonderful Christmas baking people had brought. They even had a gift for us under the tree!
On Christmas Day in the evening Dave and I went for a drive to see the area and came upon the Hawkes Bay Golf Course. We got out of the car to take a look and there was a sign that said golfers were welcome to use the course even if no one was working in the pro shop. They had something they called an Honesty Box. The green fee prices were posted and they requested you put your money in an envelope, write your name on the envelope and stick it into the Honesty Box and then go off and enjoy your round of golf. We decided to golf nine holes. It was a beautiful evening and we had a nice round.
Other post about New Zealand………….