Kuirau Park, Rotorua and the legend of the lake

Kuirau Park is a great place to walk around, it is totally free and you get to see some of the geothermal activity. It is near the centre of town and a short distance from the I-Site.
There is even a legend – so keep reading.

When I arrived in Rotorua, I met up with Denise, my cousins wife.  She took me back to theirs after the bus journey and showed me around.  We then headed over to the Kuirau Park for a wander.  It really is lovely and strange to see all this geothermal activity.  There are fences around all of it, but because the world is constantly changing there is new activity popping up in the park all the time.

One of the first steaming pools I came across whist walking around the park.
There are lots of these danger signs all over the park.
I couldn’t get my head around the steam coming off the earth like this.

It doesn’t smell as much as you think it would. Yes you can smell the sulphur (rotten eggs) but it’s not too bad.  There are other areas of Rotorua where you can smell it pretty badly.  Look out for those places in my following posts.

This tree had been bleached by some of the natural chemicals in the water and steam.
Some of the chemicals appear in bright colours, often in oranges, whites and sometimes green.

Natural geothermal activity can present itself in many different forms but is mostly classified as either an Alkaline Chloride feature or an Acid Sulphate feature, both of which can be seen at Kuirau Park.

Alkaline Chloride features are clear water springs forced speedily to the surface by geothermal pressure from deep underground. In prehistoric times sinter (a crust of porous silica) was deposited in and around the surface vents from the spring water. Today the chemistry of the springs in Kuirau Park is different. The hot water contains higher levels of bicarbonate and lower levels of the mineral silica. This has reduced the amount of white silica being deposited in and around the pools. Therefore lowering the groundwater table and concentrating the flows in channels may also result in less deposition and silica in Kuirau Park.

Me posing in front of the highest point in Kuirau Park.
Not quite bubbling mud, because it had been raining quite a bit lately.

The next couple of pictures have to be my favourite around the park.  It has such a prehistoric feel and look. Some of it looks like a dinosaur should be making it’s way across the burnt out forest.

Really prehistoric looking.

Can you see the white parts?  That is the silica mentioned before.

The steam had cleared a little here.
Mores of the alkaline and acid deposits.
And again.
I couldn’t understand why the earth looked so cracked when they were all under water. If anyone knows why this would be, I would love to hear from you.
The view from the look out point across the lake Kuirau.

The Lake Kuirau used to be called Lake Tawakahu and was cool enough to bathe in.

According to Maori legend a beautiful woman named Kuirau used to swim in this lake. Tamahika, Kuirau’s husband, said that the lake belonged to her: however a large Taniwha lived in the lake. The Taniwha used to watch the girl swim until he could stand it no longer, and one morning rose up and seized her.
Maori believed that Kuirau either died of fright because she was so terrified, or that she was taken back to the Taniwha’s lair. Whatever happened she was never seen again. The gods were so angry that they made the lake boil to get rid of the Taniwha.
From that day on the lake was called Lake Kuirau in memory of beautiful lady who used to swim in the waters.

Some of the temperatures in the pools of water reach 212 degrees Celsius.

More of Lake Kuirau.
There is also a lot of garden style area’s where you can walk around and even put your feet in some of the hot pools.  These ones are obviously not 212 degrees Celsius.
I’m not sure if you can see it, but the purple flower is called PaaneKeenake. It is native to New Zealand and is found through out the country.
The moss on the tree is called Arching Clubmoss.

There are a few odd sculptures around Rotorua too, the one below is just known as the sculpture in the park.  I couldn’t find much more information than that, I don’t know who designed / built it or anything.  If anyone knows, please do pass the information on to me.

Can you remember I mentioned there is a hot pool area?  Where here I am with my feet in it, it’s lovely.

…and relax.

It was so hot, I couldn’t tell you the temprature, but obviously it was not 212 degrees Celsius.

The other end of the pool area where I was.

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