Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the world’s youngest and the only geothermal system created within written history. It is also home to the now submerged Pink and White Terraces (Te Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata), the eighth natural wonder of the world, which lie beneath Lake Rotomahana following the eruption of Mt Tarawera on 10 June 1886. Tangata whenua settled in the area over half a millennium ago and accounted for the overwhelming majority of the 120 people who died during the 1886 eruption – still our worst natural disaster on a per capita basis in written history. Previously thought to have been destroyed during the Tarawera eruption, the Pink and White Terraces were rediscovered in 2011 by a joint New Zealand-United States project team led by Dr Cornel de Ronde of GNS Science. Dr de Ronde will present a PowerPoint overview of his findings and explain his ongoing investigations before we head out by bus to Waimangu. We’ll join him again on a boat cruise across the lake to the location of the submerged terraces.
During our bus ride, a member of the Board of Waimangu Volcanic Valley Limited and David Blackmore, General Manager, will give us an overview of the unique partnership between Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi and Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, which owns Waimangu, and will explain the partnership’s approach to rethinking resources within the volcanic valley in particular, in light of both current COVID-19 border restrictions on international tourism and a pending Treaty of Waitangi settlement expected to be concluded within the next 12 months.
Upon arrival at Waimangu, we will have several fully guided options to experience, with flexibility to ensure everyone enjoys the full Waimangu experience:
- A tour of the internationally significant geothermal features including Inferno Crater, the world’s largest crypto geyser, Frying Pan Lake, one of the world’s largest hot water springs and the unique Warbrick Terrace, a silica terrace that is growing in an unusual right-angle shape. We will also view a number of unusual and rare plants that thrive in and amongst those geothermal features.
- A close look at the conservation efforts throughout the Waimangu Valley. The native forest in the valley is the only New Zealand example of a native forest naturally regenerating from complete devastation due to natural disaster. A significant pest eradication programme, undertaken in partnership with the Department of Conservation, has resulted in a flourishing wildlife refuge.
- A 45-minute cruise on Lake Rotomahana to view a number of beautiful and unique geothermal features and legacies of the Tarawera eruption (including the location of the now submerged terraces).