Posted by: corozmum | February 8, 2011

Orakei Korako

We’ve been to most of the thermal areas around Rotorua, so on the day after Boxing Day we decided to visit the one nearest Taupo that we’ve never been to. Orakei Korako is also called the Hidden Valley. We went out on the highway to Rotorua (the long way!) The valley is so sheltered we were almost flattened by the heat when we got out of the car.

Lake Ohakuri was a stunning shade of blue. I was surprised to read on Wikipedia that the lake was formed as part of the Waikato River Hydro-electric scheme (I didn’t find out about that on the day!) and shocked that the formation of this lake left only 1/3 of the geothermal area behind and also that 2 of the worlds largest geysers were drowned. I am torn between losing such treasures and having found the trip across the lake to get to the geothermal area so lovely.

I am so glad we bought a highly recommended bottle water. The heat from the terraces and having to climb a gazillion steps would have done me in without regular intakes of water. I am also glad I worked out all last year. I would never, ever have got all the way around without having a heart attack!

The best part (apart from the boat ride) was the Ruatapu (Sacred) Cave. Being almost halfway around the walk means the peace, quiet and coolness is so welcome. Gazing upward is like being in a cathedral and brings on the same sense of spiritualism. We enjoyed watching the many birds that flew to and fro from their nests. Some of them were perched in the most amazing places on the cliff face. My camera isn’t good enough to take those sorts of photos. At the bottom is a memorial to a former guide but you can no longer go down to the bottom of the cave due to the dangers of rock fall. Hopefully they will copy the inscription and put it on the viewing platform so visitors can read about the memorial.

We had the good sense to go home the short way! But we enjoyed doing a round trip.

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