What was once recoginsed as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ has been brought back to life by a Rotorua company and a technology called augmented reality.

The downloadable app launched by Waimangu Volcanic Valley enables visitors traveling across Lake Rotomahana to exactly place where the famous pick and white terraces once were.

Unfortunately the terraces were obliterated in the devastating 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera but the freely downloadable app enables visitors to recapture the magic of what they once were. All they need do is hold up their device to explore the site and discover its hidden secrets.

Old reference photos and paintings have been used to re-create the terraces in AR along with work by early explorers and scientists.

A visitor trying out the app on the first day of its release described the experience as “a really beautiful reproduction of the Pink and White terraces. It’s very interactive and you can move around the structures and appreciate how the light, silica and water would have interacted on the real thing.”

Waimangu Volcanic Valley general manager, David Blackmore says that although AR is not new, the technology available through the devices is and that’s what has made the recreation of the terraces possible.

“Having the old images brought to life by the latest in technology is really something to see,” he said.

The Pink and White Terraces formed over thousands of years as silica-rich water emerging from springs and boiling geysers crystallised into giant tiered staircases. The White Terrace covered more than three hectares while the smaller Pink Terrace was used for bathing on the lower levels.

As well as bringing the terraces to life, the app also reveals fascinating geological insights into other features like the now-extinct Waimangu Geyser, which regularly played in the valley between 1900 and 1904. The geyser was known to erupt to heights of over 400 metres – roughly the same size as the Empire State Building.

The new app experience is expected to spark interest with domestic and international visitors because of the mystery surrounding the location of the terraces today and their history.

The fabled Pink and White Terraces were once a thriving tourist destination attracting intrepid travellers from around the world to view the ‘eighth wonder’ and gather on the terrace shores to experience the natural spa and health benefits.

The app was produced by a local Rotorua company in conjunction with an Australian apps specialist and had been in development since early 2018.

Augmented reality (AR) is giving visitors the chance to experience the majesty of New Zealand’s world-famous Pink and White Terraces for the first time since they disappeared in the late 19th century. Credit: Shine Collective.

The Pink and White Terraces formed over thousands of years as silica-rich water emerging from springs and boiling geysers crystalliesed into giant tiered starcases. The White terrace covered more that three hectares while the smaller Pink Terrace was used for bathing on the lower levels. Credit: Shine Collective.

The fabled Pink and White Terraces were once a thriving tourist destination attracting intrepid travelers from around the world to view the ‘eighth wonder’ and gather on the terrace shores to experience the natural health benefits. Credit: Shine Collective.