1. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
This is a geothermally active valley, where you will walk through a unique ecosystem, created because of a huge volcanic eruption in 1886 that engulfed and destroyed the entire surrounding landscape. The whole area was covered with mud and volcanic ash, about 20 meters thick. Later, the landscape began to gradually change, and new soil began to settle and stabilize. The first geysers (the first was Waimangu) and surface hydrothermal activity started to form. Several other volcanic eruptions hit this area, and the last was in May 1981 in Raupo Crater.
A few years after the volcano erupted, various microorganisms began to settle in the area, which was able to adapt to local conditions. Algae and mosses grow here, which can withstand temperatures of up to 70 degrees and manage to survive in an extremely acidic environment. Algae and bacteria form dense carpets of vibrant shades of colour from blue-green, orange to yellow, depending on the amount of sulfur. So the Waimangu area enjoys not only geologists, volcanologists but also botanists interested in uniquely modified thermotolerant plants that inhabit zones with a high level of acidity and high temperature.