The official name of Mount Doom is actually Mount Ngauruhoe, but nobody can pronounce that name without suffering severe tongue injuries and after starring in The Lord of the Rings as Mount Doom nobody cares about that old name any more! The government of Middle Earth … aehh New Zealand … should really get their act together and rename the volcano into Mount Doom and Tongariro National Park into Mordor 🙂
On the way from Rotorua to Mordor (formally known as Tongariro National Park) we stopped at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland hoping for some more fascinating volcanic landscape. Sadly the entrance fee was the only impressive feature of the whole park after we missed the daily 10:15 eruption of ‘Stupid Early Bird Geyser’ (formerly known as Lady Knox Geyser). The funny mud pools were not even part of the park and could be accessed for free a few hundred metres down the road. So if you should ever be in the area DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON WAIOTAPU BLOODY THERMAL WONDERLAND!
Huka Falls on the other hand, where Lake Taupo flows into the Waikato River, was completely free and way more photogenic … here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures Bea took of the place 🙂
Another free place just a few minutes downriver was the Spa Park where thermal Otumuheke Stream flows into Waikato River and people scramble to find their ideal spot between scolding hot thermal water and the freezing cold river!
Somehow even gravity gets confused in these weird conditions or how else would you explain this swimming rock??? Any hobby geologist out there?
And then at last Mount Doom emerges from the clouds in the distance over the waters of Lake Taupo. As we cautiously draw closer we can already see the smoke rising from the side of the mountain … someone must be home …