The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)
To Waimangu and the Grim Mountain
To Waimangu and the Grim Mountain.
After a day or two's rest, which is desirable if you are not pushed for time, you will be eager to make the next long trip, called the Government Round Trip. It is possible to make this trip either via Wairoa Village or via Waimangu (though the latter is the less strenuous, since the steep part of the walk is all down hill). The first stage of the journey is eighteen miles long, and is done by motor-car, which brings you to the ruins of the old accommodation house. This stands on the crest of the hill, and down before you spreads the Waimangu Valley, casting up clouds of steam from its questionable depths. As you stand near this mournful shell of a dwelling waiting for the guide to move off, you can picture the tragedy which occurred here on 1st April, 1917. Had you stood on this very spot on that unlucky day you would have noticed nothing unusual down there beyond the rising clouds of steam, for what was known as Frying Pan Flat blew up abruptly, not only carrying part of the accommodation house several hundreds of yards over the hill, but radically changing the appearance of the surrounding country-side. Fortunately no tourist party was about at the time, and only two lives were lost Frying Pan Flat disappeared, giving way to a boiling lake. The guide tells you the whole story as you pass by, but, in your eagerness to catch every detail, don't elbow your way too near to the edge of the cliff for there is only one entrance to the lake and no exit It is impossible to say how much latent energy still lies cooped up in the area which surrounds the lake. After Waimangu, you wander leisurely along through fern and bracken to the shores of Rotomahana. Almost at every step wisps of steam arise from the ground, and boiling springs and hot pools are very numerous. In one place you will discover boiling and cold water flowing along side by side. At Rotomahana the Government launch takes you aboard, and you begin now the easiest and in some ways the most interesting part of the trip.