If you live in or have visited New Zealand, you already know it is an amazing, fascinating natural playground with Eco-adventure at every turn. Among the many breathtaking destinations in this country of dynamic geology, there are five you should put on your bucket list like Poor Knight’s Islands. Located on the edge of New Zealand’s continental shelf, these islands are the remnants of a 4 million year old volcano. The ordinary island is said to be the site of a long ago curse that makes these islands off limits to visitors.
Not to worry because what lies under the sea, just offshore is an underwater marine reserve that is one of the world’s top diving sites. Here the environment is pristine and teeming with breathtaking marine life, along with the most amazing volcanic rock formations. A visit to Poor Knights Islands for a dive in this stunning marine reserve is a must.
Visiting the town of Rotorua in the Taupo Volcanic Region is another stop for your bucket list. Near the steam hissing from cracks in the rock, and the pools of boiling mud in the town, there is one of Mother Nature’s art pieces, the Wai-O-Tapu. Here, you can take a hike that will astound you and take your breath away. You will see geysers, hot springs, boiling mud pools and hissing sulfur craters to make for an amazing hike.
White Island or Whakaari is another must-see while visiting New Zealand. It is the last active sub-marine volcano remaining there and is a true site to see. It was discovered by Captain Cook in 1769 and closely resembles a true lunar landscape with its sulfur stained cliffs, crystalline craters, the noxious lakes and the vibrant colors all around. The cliffs appear to be snow capped, but it is actually the droppings from the largest population of Gannet birds anywhere in New Zealand. They are basically one of the only living things living on this very unusual creation of Mother Nature.
Next is Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, with everything from deserts and active volcanoes to lush forests and snow laden peaks. It is also one of the best places in New Zealand to see this country’s only native mammals, the short and long tailed bats. A hike here will reveal glacial valleys, sparkling blue lakes, waterfalls, geothermal steam areas and active volcanic craters.
Last, but not least is Mount Cook National Park, or Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak. The landscape here is constantly changing due to tectonic movement and never disappoints. It appears prehistoric and is covered with turquoise lakes, huge glaciers, 19 snow capped mountains and beautiful icebergs. Due to global warming, the glacier is melting fast as well as the icebergs, so if you want to see these natural phenomena, book your flight to New Zealand!