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Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience
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Orakei Korako (also know as ‘The Hidden Valley’) is a highly active geothermal area situated in the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the Waikato River at Lake Ohakuri, which is part of the hydro-electric power scheme. The formation of the lake raised the Waikato River at Orakei Korako by 18m, flooding more than 250 hot springs and geysers.  Even with two thirds of the original geothermal area covered by the artificial lake, Orakei Korako is still New Zealand’s largest geyser field and one of the country’s must-see natural attractions.

Stunning Silica Terraces

The naturally fault-stepped silica terraces that form the base of Orakei-Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park are believed to be the largest of their kind since the destruction of the famous Pink and White Terraces in 1886 on the edge of Lake Rotomahana beneath Mount Tarawera.

The jade green ‘Emerald Terrace’ is the lowest of these, and up to 20 million litres of silica enriched water can flow over the terrace into Lake Ohakuri each day.  The three terraces above the Emerald were formed by a huge earthquake in 131AD.  These fault scarps (steps) are topped with black, green and yellow algae – which grows in temperatures between 35 – 49 degrees Celsius.

The Rainbow and Cascade terraces are graced with several small geysers, including the intermittently active Sapphire Geyser.

The Golden Fleece Terrace is the third and largest fault scarp in the Hidden Valley, at 40m long and 5m high. Covered in a stunning white sinter coating, its Maori name is ‘Te Kapua’ – “The Cloud”.


NZ’s Only Geothermal Cave – A Unique Natural Attraction

The highlight for many visitors to Orakei Korako is the thermal Ruatapu Cave (Sacred Hole). The cave extends more than 35m down to a hot pool at the bottom named ‘Waiwhakaata’ (Pool of Mirrors). It’s one of only two known caves in the world located in a geothermal field. Access to the pool is prohibited, but the viewing platform provides a safe location for viewing the cave. The beautifully clear pool contains warm acid water.

There is a vast number of mud pools and hot springs on display at Orakei Korako, along with extensive bush walks to take in native flora and fauna.

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