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Hell's Gate - geothermal pools and sulphur spa

Girly chill times in the mud pools at Rotorua

sunny 17 °C

Who wouldn't say yes to a chill out in a mud pool and an afternoon of unwinding?

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After an energetic morning of Hobbiton, airport and driving, we arrived at Hell's Gate in Rotorua.

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Not as scary as it sounds, the spa and geothermal park is on a Moari special site which they knew as a special place of healing and revitalisation. The Maori's knew about it centuries before we did, but when Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw visited in the early 1900s he took one look at the bubbling mud and steam rising from the earth and said that it must be the gate to Hell.

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The water is sulphurous, which means when you arrive here, you know about it. The smell is unbelievably potent and it can take some time to adjust (if you're thinking of going, forgo the jewellery for the day - it ruins it).

But the bubbling mud is worth visiting as it is almost hypnotic in it's lava lamp-type dancing. It is also strange to think that the only thing keeping you from boiling to death is a few wooden slats for a pathway.

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Walking around the pools was incredible and the signs telling you about the different temperatures was incredible - pools which were just inches apart could vary by 100 degrees!

Maoris say the geothermal activity of the Inferno, Kakahi Falls, has healing properties and warriors would go there after battle to heal their wounds. The water would cleanse them of their "tapu" - sacredness of war.

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After learning about all the different pools, we went into the craft area *geekgasm* where we carved wood with Maori symbols. To be honest, the teacher was waaaaaaaaaaay better than us, but I think we did pretty well out of it. And it is another treasure to remind me of my adventures when I am home.

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After our lazy walk around the bubbling pools Faye and I entered the spa area to have a dip in the mud.

My skin felt AMAZING afterwards and I could have sat in there for hours.

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Sadly there came a point where we had to leave, but this was an awesome way to end a great first day of having Faye in New Zealand. After the loooooong journey back we collapsed into bed ready for another early rise in the morning......

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Posted by emmaabroad 01:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged volcanoes volcano island day north mud new_zealand tourist spa volcanic hell's_gate geothermal_pools journey_to_hell

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Some amazing scenery! Particularly the last photo of the trees silhouetted against the sky
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by CA Wright

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