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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Staying On The Path Inside Hell's Gate

Unlike Wai-O-Tapu, Hell’s Gate looks more raw and rough and it lacks the commercial development of a typical New Zealand tourist site. Its natural landscape looks uniquely different too.

If you have not got used to the sulphurous odour of Rotorua, then you may find the rotten egg (or fart!) smell here too overpowering. Hell's Gate claims to be the most geothermally active field and you are right in the heart of stink country with all these fumes around you! Well, one good thing is that you can fart here and no one can smell the difference in the air quality! Looking at these photos, you will find that Hell's Gate will be the steamiest part of your vacation in New Zealand. Besides visiting these geothermal parks, do plan to enjoy Rotorua's tourism appeal as a spa destination too.

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Pano57
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Unique landscape of this geothermal park, with lots of steam & smell too!
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

There are lots of interesting land features to look at. However, do heed the warning signs and stay on the path at all times. The whole area is rather unstable and you never know when the ground beneath your feet will collapse!

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Photo10700
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Big stink-hole, the ground looks deceivingly stable and firm!
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

Above crater is just about 1.5-2m away from the pathway. The guide told us that this steaming big hole had suddenly appeared one morning. He had guided a tour group along the pathway in the morning and the ground at that spot had appeared normal. By afternoon when his fellow colleague guided another tour, they discovered this big gaping hole in the ground. It would have been a disaster if the ground had collapsed and someone had fallen into the boiling mud beneath!

My New Zealand Vacation, Rotorua, Hell's Gate, Pano55
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Staying on (not straying off) the path!
Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, May 2006

It took 6 photos to compose above panorama. If you are on the guided tour, you may get the opportunity to venture out of the pathway with the guide to see some interesting features at close up. Remember the prayer/chant that the Maori guide said at the waharoa and watch your step!
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