A dear friend who lived in New Zealand told me that as well as seeing the normal geothermal hotspots of the North Island of New Zealand , it was a must that I visit the hidden valley at Orakei Korako which is found on the Waikato River at Lake Ohakuri. After a scenic drive, wondering if we had become lost, we came across a small café where we bought our ferry tickets and entry to the Hidden Valley. The boat journey, although short, was beautiful but nothing to the sights that greeted us as we neared the jetty of the Hidden Valley.
Up to 20 million litres of silica enriched water flows down the naturally terraced valley daily, coloured with the black, green and yellow algae which grows at temperatures of 35 – 49 degrees celsius.
The Golden Fleece terrace (I’m sure you’ll know which of the pictures it is) is the third largest of the fault scarps in the valley measuring 40 metres long and 5 metres high. It is white as a result of a white sinter coating which covers it and it is not surprising that the Maori name Te Kapua translates to mean the cloud.
Both the North and South Islands of New Zealand are full of scenic treasures but if you have the opportunity to visit the geothermal area I would reiterate what my friend Annie said “you simply have to visit Orakei-Korako. It takes you into a totally different world.”