Orakei Korako 'The Hidden Valley' is a highly active geothermal area most notable for its series of fault-stepped sinter terraces, located in a valley north of Taupo on the banks of the Waikato River. It was an extraordinary spectrum of rainbow colors, gushing geysers, and bubbling mud pools. My friend Nancy and I ate at the Mudcake Cafe' which has stunning views of the Waikato River. One of the reasons we selected to visit the park because it is located off the beaten track between Taupo and Rotorua and there were very few tourist or local visitors there. No crowds and the country drive was enjoyable. I felt like this was the real New Zealand.
The park has had some famous visitors. The Hobbit cast including Director Peter Jackson, Actors Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and Sir Ian McKellen visited the park during the filming of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey.