Four of the best... volcanoes

Mt Ngauruhoe is located within Tongariro National Park. Photo / Christine Cornege
Mt Ngauruhoe is located within Tongariro National Park. Photo / Christine Cornege

New Zealand's landscape is home to many active and dormant volcanoes. Here are some peaks worth checking out.

1. Mangere

Mangere Mountain is one of the largest volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field, with the tip of its peak 106 metres above sea level. Formerly the site of a major pa, many of the site's earthworks are still evident, including kumara pits and garden terraces. Featuring two large craters, it last erupted 18,000 years ago and the views are amazing.

2. Rangitoto Island

This iconic Auckland landmark was formed by a series of eruptions about 550 to 600 years ago. The eruptions occurred in two episodes, 10-50 years apart, and are thought to have lasted for several years during the second episode.

Rangitoto translates as Bloody Sky, the 5.5-kilometre-wide island is 260m high and is great for walking, a spot of caving (take a torch) or just gazing at from shore.

3. Mayor Island

Mayor Island, or Tuhua, (Maori for obsidian) is a dormant shield volcano off the Bay of Plenty coast, 35km north of Tauranga. With a land mass of 13sq km, Tuhua is 355m above sea level. The result of an eruption about 7000 years ago, it has hot springs, two small crater lakes, and lots of obsidian, the black glass-like rock the island is famous for. Ideal for diving, fishing and tramping.

4. Mt Ngauruhoe

Whether covered in snow or barely dusted, this is a how you expect a volcano to look. But be wary of its picture-postcard good looks, this composite cone made from layers of lava and tephra is still active and should be approached with caution. Twenty-five kilometres south of the southern shores of Lake Taupo, it first erupted about 2500 years ago and is the youngest vent in the Tongariro volcanic complex.

All these volcanoes scored 10 out of 10 on our official scale of Volcanic Majesty.

- NZ Herald

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