Hells Gate - The Twins


  Carved figue at the entrance of Hells Gate

Myrna and I had just been to White Island the previous day. So we decided to have a quiet day, and make a short visit to Hells Gate, from where we were staying in Whakatane. Hells gate is 3km from Rotorua Airport on the Whakatane side.

Tikitere, the Maori name for the area is derived from the tragic action of a Maori princess, Hurutini, the young wife of an abusive and shameful chief, who threw herself into the boiling hot pool that bears her name today.

Upon finding her daughter's body floating in the hot pool, Hurutini's mother cried out a sad lament "Aue teri nei tiki" ("here lies my precious one"), which was shortened to Tikitere and became the name from the thermal reserve and the surrounding area.

Hells Gate's mud spa, adjacent to the entrance, offers mud footpools and several mud baths, and a list of mud packages, therapies and massages. Mud-based beauty products available at the on-site shop. Hells Gate also offers educational programmes for schools.

Reference: TIKITERE Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikitere)

The Hells Gate administration has an informative web site at:

Reference: HELLS GATE (http://www.hellsgate.co.nz/)

Ruamoko - God of Volcanic Activity

I te timatanga... (In the beginning...) The Hells Gate Geothermal reserve was formed approximately 10,000 years ago when an ancient lake, which covered the whole area to a depth of 30m, drained to the sea over a six-month period creating the two present day lakes of Rotorua and Rotoiti.

With the removal of the weight of the water and subsequent uplifting and faulting of rock due to geothermal steam pressure, a series of hydrothermal eruptions occurred creating the many pools and other geothermal features seen today.

WAHAROA poster at Hells Gate entrance

Geological explanation poster at Hells Gate

The main heat source driving the Hells Gate geothermal reserve is thought a magma spike that protudes up from the Earth's core. Over top of this spike are a number of chambers of super heated steam under pressure along with a number of gases including carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.

These chambers allow the entrance of water which is immediately flashed off into super heated steam which can have temperatures in excess of 300C. Above these steam chambers are a number of underground water reservoirs that are heated by the steam andsurrounding ground heat.

The various pools on the surface are fed from the underground water reservoirs by way of cracks or fissures in the rock. The chemical properties of these pools differ due to the source of the surface water, the input of steam and gases from below, the material surrounding the underground reservoirs and the heat input.

Hurutini Pool - Hells Gate
Hells Gate Cooking Ponds

Hells Gate - Kakahi Falls
hells Gate Sulphur Crystal Valley
Hells Gate Sulphur Bath
Sulphur Lake (Medicine Lake)
Steaming Cliffs and Mud Pools at Hells Gate
Viewing platform for the Mud Volcano
Hells Gate Mud Volcano