Craters of the Moon: Experience the geothermal walk

Australia & Pacific | | May 19, 2011 at 1:04 am




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What about having a natural spa therapy? If you want to experience, then carry yourself to New Zealand’s Craters of the Moon – the most incredible geothermal highlight! Accessible from Taupo and located off SH1 at the end of the Karapiti Road, it is a thermal area that takes you into a complete different world. A million of tourists come here to experience a walk of a difference. The zone is so named because of its isolated moonscape along with the clouds of twirling steam. The Craters of the Moon is itself in the largest geothermal area in the country called the Wairakei Tourist Park.

Also known as ‘Karapiti’, the Craters of the Moon is interestingly an active thermal zone in the park that is completely packed with steam vents. Geographically, it is recorded to be continuously shifting, reforming, and collapsing, an unbelievable process that provides an unoccupied look. In such a hot as well as somewhat nasty surroundings, you will also come across the thermal mud pools that simmer as well as plants that are really not native to the zone.


The Craters of the Moon is actually a very young natural wonder that was born some 60 years ago due to the use of the Wairakei valley’s underground thermal energy. In 1950s, a big area that you see today began to emit steam resulting in the craters of boiling mud as well as other geothermal phenomena. This was due to the lowering of subterranean water pressure via a close by geothermal power station making the mud pools active for ejecting the superheated water through the surface. With the power station, less water became available for cooling down the magma as well as the ground cavity increasing the level of high pressure sulphurous steam. In short, this hot natural phenomenon is an impressive volcanic instance of the inner earth’s furious fire exploding out!

So, for all those who want to see the fiery Earth in form of a formidable formation, a visit to this tourist park is inevitable. For the visitors, there are boardwalks as well as pathways, which are well made acting as guides through the area and leading all safely ensuring that hot temperatures as well as the fumes flanking the steam outlets do not cause any danger. It will take you some 30 minutes to take a complete walk around Craters of the Moon. On this visit, you will be able to notice the bubbling craters, steam vents, mud pools, and fumaroles. In addition, you will also be able to spot a myriad of proving plants that thrive in such a steamy environment by making themselves adaptive. So, get ready to enjoy this great geothermal area via the broadways as well as the elevated viewing platforms. Regularly being shifted due to the emersion of new vents, the trails/pathways will give you a feel of marveling in clear air at the scary fog of steam for a minute, while the next minute brings up a move in the zephyr making you trapped in a cloud indicated by your fogged sunglasses.


At the entrance, you will find a kiosk offering souvenirs and maps after which a wide paved road is seen, which is a steep one meeting the footpath. Start your leisurely walk from here for having some great pictures, watching for the signs if staying on the path in the most active parts, meandering around the big cauldrons as well as hot gray mud, staring at the rising steam from fumaroles of all shapes, spotting the wonderful moss along the sides, and forest of pines as well as ferns.

Even I recommend to be on the path due to the presence of some smaller active vents are just very close to the path. This also reveals that the ground beneath can make your feet very hot as well. So wear your footwear accordingly. From the Craters of the Moon, hike up to the nearby Huka Falls, which is one more famous attraction here.

Best time

Anytime

Admission charges

$6 per adult

$2.5 per child under 12 and above 5

$14.5 per family (parents and 4 children under 12)

Suitability of trails

For all ages.

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