This thermal valley used to be full of amazing geysers, check out the pictures in the cafe! As you do the walk, imagine how it used to look, and marvel at the change that can occur. Wairakei geothermal plant is just next door...and the geysers started to die right when they started testing wells there (they didn't know the effects of this back then). You do the math! This place is a testament to what can happen to glorious natural features when man gets involved. It is sad, but there are many remnants of the old place still to be seen, and the colors of the steaming cliffs are beautiful. The owner is happy to talk all about it, as he did when we visited. He knows everything and was very glad to hang out with us and talk story!
The awesome menagerie of animals that wanders around as you eat lunch or get in your car is another plus to this special place. I'll never forget it.
I noticed that many of the pictures associated with this attraction are for nearby tourist attractions, not the thermal valley: Wairakei Terraces (which are fake/man-made) or Craters of the Moon/Karapiti (another example of what happens after installing a geothermal plant next door--all that steam and those craters weren't there before!!). So don't trust all the pictures or reviews to tell you about this special piece of NZ history.
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