Mt Tarawera erupted in the early hours of the morning of 10th June 1886 followed by the explosion of Lake Rotomahana which buried Te Wairoa village under a blanket of mud nearly 2 metres deep. Around 150 lives were lost.
A walk around the popular archaeological site reveals parts of the excavated village which lay undiscovered for around 130 years. Several of the houses have had their entrances dug out and you can go inside, which gives a good idea as to how deeply they were buried in mud.
Scenic paths lead to the Waterfall trail where we descended 117 steps to stand beside Wairere Falls, very impressive. Some of the steps were carved out of rock and quite steep but we took our time as we were walking right next to the waterfall and they were slippery with moss and spray. We stopped often just to take in the beauty of our surroundings and glimpses of Lake Tarawera.
There is a very informative museum with various items discovered during the excavation and you can learn about the fate of the pink and white terraces, a natural landmark, popular with tourists in the day and completely destroyed in one of New Zealand’s greatest natural disasters.
Lunch at the café was a nice finish to a very enjoyable morning. I highly recommend a visit.