White Island

White Island

Billowing clouds of gas, steam and ash are spewing out from the crater and you hesitate to move. An explosion seems imminent but the guide appears relaxed and in control.

You marvel at the fumaroles that spout erratically in a frenzied effort to release the pent up forces below. Garish yellow and white sulphurous crystal deposits form bizarre shapes that don’t belong on this planet. You check your gas mask before pressing on into this ghostly whiteout. One glance into the fiery crater convinces you its time to retreat – it’s an 800°C furnace in there.

The famous navigator, Captain James Cook, named Whakaari (White Island) as the island always appeared white from its billowing steam. The island was thrust upwards by the continuing clash between the Indo-Australian tectonic plate and the Pacific Plate, which has been driven underneath the former plate for two million years. Whakaari is New Zealand’s most active volcano. It lies 50 km off the Whakatane coast and attracts thousands of visitors each year on six hour boat cruises and helicopter excursions (if conditions are safe).

Bus Pass New Zealand

Early settlers first acquired the island in the 1830’s for the purpose of sulphur production. Mining work was interrupted in 1885 and stopped completely the year after when Mt Tarawera erupted, reshaping the Rotorua landscape. The Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ extends through the Bay of Plenty from White Island to Rotorua and Taupo. In the late 1970’s two new caters formed and 100,000 cu. metres of rock was ejected in the process.

The Bay of Plenty is a sun-drenched region of glorious white sand beaches, beautiful harbours and a laid-back lifestyle. Whakatane is the main eastern centre and Tauranga holds court at the western end of the bay. Tauranga is a cosmopolitan lifestyle city with first-class cuisine and fine wines. Across the harbour is Mt Maunganui, another volcanic cone at the tip of a long sandspit. From its summit the view is quite phenomenal – the deep blue of the Pacific and a white sand beach stretching as far as the eye can see towards Whakatane. Directly below is a premier beach resort alive with surfers and swimmers.

For an exciting and sometimes disconcerting challenge, visit White Island and then seek out a safe refuge on the sunny beach resorts of the Bay of Plenty.

By | 2014-08-26T03:36:17+00:00 August 26th, 2014|Scenic Highlights|0 Comments

About the Author:

Danny de Hek
Like most people, I have many passions, goals and dreams. As a self made business professional, my focus is helping my clients, associates and friends, build, strengthen and maintain their success. It would be fair to say I am in the full time business of building relationships and feel my purpose and skill is connecting the right people with the right people. My professional work tends to dominate my personal life, to the horror of my partner and business mentor. They both fully support me yet give me the hard truths when I need to hear this. I am always investing in my personal development to have a fulfilled work/life balance. I enjoy Target Shooting, Hiking & Mountain Biking to clear the brain and to take the guilt away when indulging at a quirky cafe for a cooked breakfast or brunch. My passion for travelling has seen me experience the world on many occasions, my next adventure will be doing the Tibet Rail Journey on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Golmud as long as they have Wi-Fi aboard ;-) I have many goals I still wish to achieve but am pretty chuffed that I have accomplished so many of these already.

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