The Round Trip is as instructive as it is interesting; to me, visiting Waimangu was like going to school. There I learned theories of thermal and volcanic activity, and I saw them illustrated. The illustrator and teacher was "Bob" (R. H.) Ingle, who often has had more than one hundred pupils in his two daily classes. On this school day, as usual, one class reached Waimangu via Wairoa, the other via the Rotorua-Taupo road. In the creviced wilderness of mud between Waimangu and Lake Rotomahana the two classes met, and the guides exchanged pupils.
In approaching Waimangu via Wairoa, Waimangu's steaming flats and cavities were hidden by mud banks and the walls of the Tarawera fissure. On the commanding elevation where the Government accommodation house stood, a comprehensive view was obtainable, however. Eastward in the distance was the blue line of the Huiarau Range; to the far right, the mountains and hills of Lake Taupo district; and a few miles away, in the same direction. Rainbow Mountain, a variegated mass of rock and clay with steaming cliffs and canyons. Running to the base of all these heights were the desolate Kaingaroa Plains. They looked to be, as they probably are, the remains of a plateau, and they were marked everywhere with isolated, flat-topped bits of land. It was as if a capricious river had cut the plains into thousands of winding channels.