Interpreting Geoheritage at New Zealand’s Geothermal Tourist Sites—Systematic Explanation Versus Storytelling
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Wai-O-Tapu, Waimangu and Orakei Korako are three tourist sites in the North Island of New Zealand where spectacularly active geothermal phenomena may be visited by tourists. Their geodiversity includes geysers, collapse and explosion craters, hot springs, mud pools and extensive sinter deposits. Whilst each site is very well developed to manage the flows of visitors in terms of standard tourist provisions and facilities, the level of interpretation lags behind. Explanation is generally simple, limited to naming features and encyclopaedia-style definitions, and resources to deepen understanding of geothermal systems are limited. Alternative approaches based on storytelling along thematic trails are proposed for each site, to complement the existing tourist products. They can be particularly valued by visitors whose expectations go beyond a mere aesthetic/sensual experience, but who lack the skills and knowledge of geo-experts and cannot interpret the sites for themselves.
KeywordsGeothermal sites Geysers Interpretation Geotourism New Zealand
Research stay of PM in New Zealand was organized within the EU-funded project ‘Development of the potential and educational offer of the University of Wrocław – the chance to enhance the competitiveness of the University’. We also extend our sincere thanks to Professor Mike Crozier and Sally Marx for their help and hospitality whilst in New Zealand. Insightful comments from a journal reviewer towards improvement of the manuscript are gratefully acknowledged.
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