Existing Member?

Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

Witnessing Sodom

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 11 August 2007 | Views [895]

Hells' Gate - Rotorua

Hells' Gate - Rotorua

Even from the small gravelly car park our souls were in peril.

Whispy hands of white sulphorous gas ebbed at our feet like a scene from, "The Fog."   Ominous clouds of white rose around our bodies.

The playwright James Bernard Shaw named the place, "Hell's Gate" although the Maoris considered it sacred long before his visit in the early 1900s.  They used some bubbling pools to cook food whilst the hot waterfall here acted as a soothant for battle wounds.

Today, the Maori people continue as the guardians of, "Waiora," a place constantly on the boil.  Neither Maria nor myself had ever been Testament to such a steaming, mythical, underworld vision.  My camera snapped away like gnashing teeth.

Each pool had its own character and temperature, some, called, "ink pots," are crammed with sulphides causing a dark grey graphite colouring.  They rolled over and over, like matt tar. 

Mr Shaw was actually credited with naming some of the pools too.   With a good understanding of the Bible (although an atheist) he named the two furnace-like pools, "Sodom and Gomorrah," and another, "Baby Adam," as it reminded him of his nephew bouncing on his knee. 

There's a spa there too, ironically giving sinful bodies a chance to cleanse in the health giving muds.  But were the muds of divine extraction? 

I have no idea!  I just looked at them.

Later that day, in the geothermally charged land of Rotorua, we journeyed through the wilderness to the, "buried village."

In the 1800s Victorian tourists travelled to this area to bathe in the "terraces." (naturally formed hot pools)  Wonderful b&W pictures tell the tale of this spa town.  One gent wrote of how he began in the coolest pool at the bottom and steadily allowed his body to adjust to the increasing heat. He must have looked like prune, I thought. 

Unfortunately the nearby volcano (Mt Tarawera) erupted and lava wiped out the entire village including the local hotel. 

We walked round the now excavated site, fascinated by what mother nature can do when annoyed.

Maria posed by an 80ft waterfall as I studied the movements of trout in the gurgling streams below.

What irony we thought, that a once popular tourist site with British people has remained a popular tourist site in another incarnation.

We'd pondered too much on mortality for one day and decided to head north to Tauranga where our souls would be safer.

....or would they....?


Tags: Adventures

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.