The Eighth Wonder of the World — The Pink and White Terraces

Random Picture Alert. You’ve been warned.


Yeah. 🙂 I saw. 🙂

Hey, has anyone heard of the eighth wonder of the world? Well, there may be a few eighth wonders out there, but as a Kiwi, it’s my job to make sure you get the truth, because in fact it’s New Zealand’s Pink and White Terraces which take that honor.

Let me begin this sad yet exciting tale of enlightenment. Why sad and exciting? Because Kiwis always find the good within the bad. Yes, we do.

The bad. The pink and white terraces aren’t here anymore, because they were completely destroyed in 1886.

The good. They’ve been rediscovered. *clapping furiously*

Confused? Stay with me now.

And I’ll start from the beginning. The pink and white silica terraces were located in New Zealand on a hillside in the thermal region of Rotorua, and cascaded down from two geysers and to the edge of a lake. They were formed as water containing silica flowed from the boiling geysers. The water cooled and crystallized into the terraces, forming a giant staircase as such.

Here are two wonderful paintings by Blomfield capturing the beauty of the two separate terraces in 1884. The first is The White Terraces, the second The Pink Terraces.

White Terraces (1884)

white terrace

Pink Terraces (1884)

pink terrace

The terraces were each around seven acres in size, and descended with around 50 layers to the lake’s edge some 40 meters below.

They were so impressive, but sadly in 1886 were destroyed when an eruption occurred on nearby Mt Tarawera. During the eruption, a deep crater formed at the site of the terraces. It caused the lake to expand and cover them as well as nearby villages, including the famous Buried Village of Te Wairoa where 150 were buried alive.

But here’s the good news–

All was thought lost until just recently when scientists mapping the lake floor discovered part of the Pink Terraces 200 feet deep in February 2011. A search was then mounted for the White Terraces, and part of them was located in June a few months on. And now it’s thought the rest of the terraces may be buried in sediment under the lake’s surface, and not destroyed at all.

Ahh, I love that. See, got you smiling too, didn’t I?

So, that’s a little about New Zealand’s eighth wonder of the world. And would you believe they’re located only thirty minutes drive from where I live. Have you heard of these amazing terraces? Perhaps you’ve heard of a different eight wonder? Leave me a comment and let me know. I love hearing from you. Catch ya later. *waving from New Zealand*

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20 thoughts on “The Eighth Wonder of the World — The Pink and White Terraces

    1. Hi, Jo. That’s so cool you’ve been to Rotorua. There’s so much sulphur in the air and you can definitely smell Rotorua before you get there, but all that geothermal activity is pretty cool. Mud pools, geysers, steam rising out of every little crack. I’m not sure there’s quite another place like it on Earth.

  1. What a cool story. I’ve never heard of the terraces but, judging by the paintings, they were gorgeous. So wonderful to hear they be still be there, under the lake. New Zealand definitely sounds like a wondrous place!

    1. Hi Mae. The more I discover about NZ, the more I see. It was certainly wonderful news when we heard the terraces had been rediscovered.

      Hey, I’ve just dropped by your blog. Happy one-year blogging anniversary to you, and yes, to me too. My first post titled “Dreams Fulfilled” was on 18th February 2012. From then my blogging world began, a journey I can’t imagine having been without. Here’s to our second year *glasses raised* and to all the wonderful new friends we’re about to make.

    2. It was so cool when I learned it was your blogging anniversary too, Joanne. Cheers to another great year for us both. It’s been wonderful getting to know you these last twelve months 🙂

    1. Hi Amy. It’s so cool to know they’re there. The lake where these terraces are is pretty special, and now we have another lake close to this one where there’s a geyser on a hilltop above it. Again we’re seeing the natural formation of these silica terraces. This new terrace though is pink, white and blue (all in one) and quite gorgeous to behold.

  2. There was as i recall an extremely powerful geyser there as well which spouted about 1500 feet high and tourists came from all over to see it …..There was a young Aussie woman killed when she and her mother got too close it

  3. When Tarawera exploded and destroyed the terraces there were a hunting party of Maori on the top of the mountain which blew off a cubic mile of the mountain top the explosion was heard in Auckland and it was thought to be a Russian gunboat run aground and was firing its guns to seek help

  4. I am an Aussie but spent a year travelling around N Z most of 1966 it is a beautiful country and has a wonderful history and i would recommend it to anyone I used to say to people that i met that it was a country God made for himself but moved on when man arrived …Loved you Kiwis

  5. Thanks Jo
    I seem also to recall that the buried village was discovered at least in part by someone noticing that there was a strange looking circle of trees at that spot which is not normal in nature so it was decided to look further into it and it turned out that the tree circle were trees growing off the original walls of the Maori Pa Which had been covered by quite a depth of very fertile volcanic ash…. All of those forts that you have ever seen in American western movies were a copy of the Maori way of building fortified enclosures ….And the hinges on those Maori forts [ PAs ] astounded the British engineers they had never seen any thing like them ….So well done the Hoari’s

  6. Hi Jo
    just wondering if you know what is causing the blue color in the newly created terraces and if there is any suggestion of this color in the original terraces these new ones must be something to see…… I am guessing that the blue color is coming from algae or lichen or perhaps a mineral ….The reason I ask is because there are two lakes in that same area one blue the other green and it may be possible that the colors may be coming from a related source….. Am not sure if or not those 2 lakes were also created by the 1886 eruption…. Do you perhaps know ?. You have a great evening over there and say hi to N.Z.for me Keep well….B

    1. I loved your questions, Bob. Here are your answers.

      What’s causing the blue color in the newly created blue terraces?
      These blue terraces are in a different location to where the pink and white terraces were. The new terraces will take many years to grow, but the blue color comes from the silica deposits below that particular geyser.

      The blue and green lakes–what do I know about them?
      When you look at the blue and green lakes, only a short distance from each other, one is blue, and the other is green as you mentioned. The blue lake is blue, because of the pumice and rhyolite base which the sun reflects back up. This is the lake everyone swims in.

      The green lake is green because it’s far more shallow and has a sandy base. The green lake is actually considered sacred by the local Iwi, and there’s no fishing, swimming or boating permitted on this lake. It’s very difficult to even get to this lake because of it’s location, but visitors do tramp through the bush to view it, as it’s quite spectacular.

      These two lakes have always been there. They weren’t created by the eruption. Loved, loved your questions. Thanks so much.

  7. Most kind of you Jo thanks so much…. The green lake was off limits to all but the Maori when i was there in 1966 ….I hav’nt got the years left to see the new terraces grow I wonder how old the originals were….. Several thousand years i should think Those samples that they have gotten may be able to tell us in time …..Cheers and thanks again ….B

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