Te Kopia

 

Te Kopia Scenic Reserve is located 40 kilometers south of Rotorua and is situated along the Paeroa Fault Zone. The reserve’s geothermal system is part of the larger Taupo Volcanic Zone, which is driven by the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Australian Plate. This tectonic activity creates a high heat flow in the area, resulting in the various geothermal features observed at the surface.

The Te Kopia Mud Geyser is one of the largest and most active mud geysers in New Zealand. Unlike traditional water geysers, mud geysers erupt a mixture of hot water, steam, and mud. This geyser is characterised by its irregular eruption pattern. It doesn’t follow a predictable schedule like some other geysers around the world. Instead, its eruptions can be sporadic and vary in intensity. When active, the geyser can eject mud and steam several meters into the air. The constant activity of the geyser has created a distinctive one sided mud mound formation around its vent. After a period of relative inactivity, the geyser reactivated mid-2024 due to a consistent drop in the mud pool’s water level. Eruptions are now occurring approximately every 20 minutes, with mud jets reaching around 2 meters in height.

Another prominent feature at Te Kopia is the large, steaming escarpment. This near-vertical cliff face is constantly emitting steam and hot gases, creating a dramatic visual effect. The escarpment is the result of a fault line, where geothermal fluids have altered the rock over time, leading to its current unstable and highly active state.