Postcards From The Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland - Atlas Obscura
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Postcards From The Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland

(Photo: Courtesy Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland)

The neon green water of the Devil’s Pool is steaming around the edges, like some kind of algae-colored witches brew. On the other side of the New Zealand geothermal park known as Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters), another terrestrial hot spring, called the Champagne Pool, displays an panoply of autumnal and oceanic colors. Sculpted around 900 years ago after a volcanic eruption, the surreal-looking pools have craters around 200 feet in diameter.

The water temperature of the cold, hot, and boiling mud springs is pleasant at the surface–a palatable 73 degrees–but temperatures soar to 500 °F down below.  Owned by a local Maori business, the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland is an active geothermal zone on seven square miles. The park offers a number of hiking trails through the undulating volcanic terrain. Check out some of our favorite photos of the magical springs below, and if you want to see it in person, sign up for the Obscura Day tour

 (Photo: Florian Bugiel/Flickr)

(Photo: Courtesy Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland)

(Photo: Courtesy Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland)

(Photo: Jane Nearing/Flickr)

(Photo: Eli Duke/Flickr)


What is Obscura Day? It’s more than 150 events in 39 states and 25 countries, all on a single day, and all designed to celebrate the world’s most curious and awe-inspiring places. To get ticket information on the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland’s tour on Obscura Day, go here.