NZ's North Island Volcanic Hot Spots

25 July 2015

Sitting on two tectonic plates, constantly grinding and on the move, New Zealand is at the receiving end of a great deal of geological action.

All this action below the surface bubbles up in the form of natural hot springs, geysers and mud pools, touted for their therapeutic benefits. Can you handle the heat of NZ's North Island volcanic hot spots?


Hells Gate, Rotorua


 Feeling the heat at Hells Gate. Picture: Getty Images

Rotorua packs the best of New Zealand's natural assets into one region – traditional Maori culture, rejuvenating spas, native forests and, of course, geothermal gems.

The city of Rotorua is renowned for its bubbling mud pools, steaming hot fumaroles and sulphuric ambience, with Hells Gate one of the most commanding attractions just outside the town centre.

Make your way to the inferno for a time-honoured mud bath ritual, lathering up with silky grey volcanic mud. Your skin will thank you for it.


Check out another steamy site: Mt St Helens, A Climb Both Beautiful And Brutal

Or make it a worldwide adventure: 10 Best Active Volcanoes To See Up Close



White Island, Whakatane


White Island (aka Whakaari) is New Zealand's only active marine volcano, complete with grumbling gas vents and a sulphuric-green crater lake.

Plonked in the Bay of Plenty, 90 minutes from Whakatane, White Island's changing landscapes are painted red, white and yellow from the rich underlying minerals.

With a two-kilometre-wide volcanic bowl and some 300-metre-high cliffs, the impressive island is an adventurer's dream, where you can hike the surface or scour outlying ocean.


Craters Of The Moon, Taupo


 Keeping a safe distance at Craters of the Moon. Picture: Getty Images

If you'd rather not dive into the volcanic action, observe it from the comfort of a walking track at Taupo's Craters of the Moon (Karapiti in Maori).

The barren, untamed landscape is covered in a wooden walkway, hovering above hissing steam pockets – the result of hydrothermal eruptions lurking beneath the Earth's crust. Once you've soaked in the steamy moonscape, cool off with a visit to the Singapore-sized Lake Taupo.


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