White Island
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Love the Lava
The "youngest country on earth" was forged along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a geological pressure cooker that creates glaciers and volcanoes (and is susceptible to earthquakes). One of New Zealand's active volcanoes, the White Island in the Bay of Plenty, is accessible by either boat or helicopter. It's an alien landscape pocked with craters, steaming with fissures, and smelling of sulfur. Auckland was built upon 53 volcanoes, the most prominent being Rangitoto Island just off the coast in the Hauraki Gulf. Daily ferry trips are available, and if you’re not keen to walk over lava, there’s always the land train to take you up the 850 feet to the top.
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Steps Away from a Live Volcano
Literally taking your breath away, White Island is an amazing swirl of natural pyrotechnics complete with heart-thumping sound and an interactive light show that has no parallel. Safely walking on a well-defined path through a geothermal wonderland, the guides from White Island Tours take you to the edge of New Zealand's most active volcano. You'll wear a hard hat and gas mask for protection. On the edge of the volcano, you'll hear a loud, distant boom followed seconds later by a startling eruption of mud and rock. The shapes that are spewed are almost delicate in their shapes as they fly upward and then silently fall apart. This happens over and over again. It's mesmerizing and, even though the air is harsh, you'll just want to stay to see more, but time wisely is limited on the volcano. The 80-minute boat ride over to the Island from Ohope can be rough, but it's worth it.
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Eruptions
It's like the thermal pools the girl at my hostel told me. Ha. This is Rotorua on steroids. This is a live volcano for a start! White Island, unaptly named by James Cook in 1769, is the 2 by 2.4km island visible of the whole volcano 50km north of Whakatane, and it's an ever changing, bubbling, billowing, frothing, other worldly landscape - right on our own landscape. It breathes and heaves right in front of us, streaks of bright yellow sulphur line lunar rocks, sparkling silica reflects splendid sunshine, rolling mounds of andesite sit all around where deep craters also dip, some bubbling mud and others dried deep. On the cusp of where the Pacific plate meets the Indo Australiasian plate the fissure is virulent and active, ever brimming with activity. White Island is alive, and it lets us know.
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Eruptions
It's like the thermal pools the girl at my hostel told me. Ha. This is Rotorua on steroids. This is a live volcano for a start! White Island, unaptly named by James Cook in 1769, is the 2 by 2.4km island visible of the whole volcano 50km north of Whakatane, and it's an ever changing, bubbling, billowing, frothing, other worldly landscape - right on our own landscape. It breathes and heaves right in front of us, streaks of bright yellow sulphur line lunar rocks, sparkling silica reflects splendid sunshine, rolling mounds of andesite sit all around where deep craters also dip, some bubbling mud and others dried deep. On the cusp of where the Pacific plate meets the Indo Australiasian plate the fissure is virulent and active, ever brimming with activity. White Island is alive, and it lets us know.
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White Island
Cruising by White Island (Whakaari in Maori), an active volcano located off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, isn’t quite as adventurous as touring it (those who do must wear hard hats and gas masks), but it’s still something to behold. In a constant state of agitation, the 321-meter-high island — actually the tip of a giant submerged mountain — releases toxic steam from it vents and has erupted 35 times since 1826.

White Island
From your cruise ship you'll get a good look at White Island (Whakaari in Maori), an active volcano some 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast in the Bay of Plenty. Seeing the island that way might not be quite as adventurous as visiting it on foot (a trip that requires hard hats and gas masks), but it’s still something to behold. White Island is actually the tip of a giant submerged mountain that protrudes 321 meters (1,053 feet) above the water. It has erupted 35 times since 1826 and remains in a constant state of agitation, spewing toxic steam from its vents.
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