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Buried Village in Te Wairoa, and Wai-o-Tapu – Day 25
Thursday 21st April 2005
It was a day of exploration today around the surrounding areas of Taupo. The first stop was the ‘Buried Village’ in Te Wairoa, the second stop was Wai-o-Tapu. It was sure to be an interesting day.
I awoke to find it had been raining all night, which wasn’t the best thing to learn knowing that I had a lot of clothes sitting outside on the washing line. I was planning on retrieving my clean, dry clothes this morning, instead I had to leave the soaking items of clothing on the line during the day. Hopefully the weather would hold out.
So I set off with directions to the Buried Village in Te Wairoa, and found myself driving along some nice scenic roads, eventually leading me to the attraction. Once there I paid the cashier for a ticket around the site, then headed out with my camera in hand.
The route was fairly short, and the tour itself rather brief, yet there was plenty to take in if the desire was there. For me, though, not nearly enough of the place was preserved, and most of the buildings that had been buried were now sitting as they are, completely excavated. One or two buildings were left alone, leaving only the roofs showing.
A violent volcanic eruption from Mount Tarawera many years ago claimed the lives of many people, and even destroyed the magnificent Pink and White Terraces (regarded as the eighth wonder of the world). The mud that had engulfed these wooden huts had swallowed up much of what was a large village lived in by hundreds of people. The excavation gave an insight into the lives of the inhabitants before the tragedy that was felt as far away as Auckland.
The trail revealed some fascinating artefacts as well, but the best part of the experience was walking around the incredibly emotional museum. Audio and visual accounts of the disaster made me quite sad at the fate of much of the villagers who called this place home. I found the whole place very moving, and felt compelled to read all the available literature on the volcanic eruption, including the Pink and White Terraces that were destroyed. This was a natural formation of rock, staggered like steps, yet utterly beautiful. This had all been buried and lost.
After having my fill of education, I followed the remaining trail to the waterfall where I stood and pondered for a moment or two, then it was back to the café for a cup of tea and some food. After this I made my way to Wai-o-Tapu, a thermal wonderland. And it was exactly that.
The landscape was phenomenal, yet the smell was awful. There was so much to see that I wondered just how large this park was. It took an age to walk around, and many wild and wonderful things presented themselves to me as I struggled to take it all in. Most of the water about the park was green and sulphuric.
The small streams and rivers soon made way for the huge green lake that stretched out as far as the eye could see. It is like something out of another world. My favourite part of the afternoon’s adventure had to be the Champagne Pool though. It is very impressive and left me a little gob-smacked to say the least for all the colour and texture. Smoke billowed from the pool, and you got a sense of fear when imagining how deep or acidic the water would be. The whole place was spectacular.
Having had another great day, it was time to head back to the hostel where my clothes hung dry. Taupo is easily my favourite place in the world at this moment in time.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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