Orakei Korako

Authored By Brian

The weather didn’t cooperate meaning we couldn’t do the Tongariro crossing. Instead we cruised out to Orakei Korako which Lonely Planet calls, “possibly the best thermal area left in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world”.

It’s essentially a geothermal area on the edge of Lake Ohakuri with some geysers, silica terraces, mud pools and a cave that they call the Hidden Valley. It was definitely “out of the way” down a number of small secondary roads.

On a side note, modern-day New Zealand has an extremely heavy Maori influence. Although I knew of NZ mostly through famous cities like Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and so forth, basically everything else here has a Polynesian-sounding name like Ohakuri or Orakei Korako. Most street names are Maori as well. My brain has a hard time recognizing the repetitive series of consonant-vowel so Jennifer has been my trusty navigator.

There’s not too much to say about this place unless you want the geologist explanation but we rode a 30 second ferry across the lake and then wandered around for an hour or so. It’s pretty neat and the highlight is the Ruatapu Cave (Sacred Cave) which is one of only two geothermally situated caves known in the world (another stellar Kiwi claim to fame). The pool at the bottom supposedly grants wishes so I’m waiting to see if mine comes true. :) It also cleans jewelry really well due to the acidity and chemical composition.

Take a look at the pictures here.

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