The New Zealand Diaries:a morning of geo-thermal wonders (01/01/16)

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I apologise in advance if what I am about to say offends someone out there, but there are days when, faced with the beauty and variety of nature, I struggle to see how one could not believe in God. How could it be that all that is special and beautiful about this planet just came about by accident?

Wai-o-Tapu thermal wonderland here near Rotorua, which covers 18 square km of land with collapsed craters, cold and boiling pools of mud as well as hot springs and geysers, has unleashed a deep sense of awe in me. Once again no photo can do justice to the smells, the sounds and colours that have teased my senses today. The rainbow/champagne pool alone displays an impressive array of colours including green (colloidal sulphur), orange (antimony), purple (manames oxide), white (silica), yellow-primrose (sulphur), red-brown (iron oxide) and black (sulphur and carbon). Having never done chemistry, I do not know what half of this stuff is, but I am sure you learned ones out there will ☺

I particularly loved the devil’s bath (though I don’t like the name).Lime green, it is the colour of the milkshake I had yesterday at Rotorua museum ☺ and has a real beauty and tranquility about it. It now also has special place in my heart because I saw two welcome swallows there….beautiful,delicate and agile little creatures.

I am glad I took the time to wander around all the pathways here and to stay much longer than I had intended to.I arrived this morning after seeing the eruption of the main geyser here (induced by soap powder which is how the timing can be predicted) -with hoards of people. Wandering around with large groups of people does not take away any of the beauty of the scenes, but it strips you of the scope of using all the senses to take in the atmosphere of a place.  Here in Wai-o-Tapu it means not hearing the sound of bubbling mud and water, the chirping of birds, the sound of steam mixed with wind drifting across the pools….and it does not allow you to stand in silence to reflect on the awesome-ness of what lies before you.Staying later meant the crowds died down, allowing for moments of silent wonder,which I believe all human beings need at times. I am just so moved by what I have seen today…..and struck by how how ironic it is that some of the most beautiful scenes on earth are located in some of the most dangerous settings……in this case, huge beauty and fantastic people living in prime earthquake and volcanic areas which could reduce humans and their livelihoods to dust and ashes within seconds.  Perhaps this is exactly God’s way of reminding us to depend on Him; to recall that all we have-life,beauty, loved ones, safety-is a gift from God…… we need to savour every moment of it all with a sense of awe as we do not know how long we will be able to savour what we have been blessed to see and enjoy.

Anyway, I had best hit the road. I am driving to Taupo tonight and will be walking the Tongariro Crossing tomorrow so should probably avoid a late night…I am tired and could do with some rest before this big hike tomorrow.Doubtless, the Taupo region  will present me with some beautiful sights on the way as well, which I would not want to miss out on.How precious it is to have day after day of surprises and discoveries…..hence the need to digest and share special moments immediately, so that they are captured not only in my memory but also on paper.

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