, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 83–95 | Cite as

Interpreting Geoheritage at New Zealand’s Geothermal Tourist Sites—Systematic Explanation Versus Storytelling

  • Piotr MigońEmail author
  • Edyta Pijet-Migoń
Original Article


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.


Geothermal 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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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Regional DevelopmentUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland
  2. 2.Institute of TourismWrocław School of BankingWrocławPoland

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